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Surgery Details Monday

GreyEagleGGreyEagle Posts: 350
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:23 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
O:) I finally see my Neuro Surgeon this Moday after results from C-6 Nerve Block Injection. That test took away all the pain in my left arm.

I remember him telling me that was only one of my problems. The disc at C-6 impinges on the C-6 nerve root and there is a bone spur there as well. My DO believes he will recommend C-3 thru 6 decompression.

I'm wondering if I will really need a recliner. I only have pull over t-shirts I wear now. Will I need to purchase button down shirts? Should I buy a bath robe to put on for around the house? How hard will it be for me to put my pants on? LOL. Lots of questions! I do read the Sticky posts on this Forum and any related articles on the Main Page.

I had to call in to have my Vicodin 5/500 filled again today. I still have plenty Morphine. Both together help my pain while I wait for surgery. The worst side effect is drowsiness.

From what I can tell from these message boards the avg recovery before returning to work after a 4 lvl acdf seems to be 4 to 4 1/2 months. I'll find that out when the time comes. I do have a good physical therapist near where I live for PT after surgery.

Anyway, I'll let everyone know Monday after I see my surgeon what he plans on. I'd imagine there is pre-op tests also (blood tests, urine tests, EKG (I have diabetes, high blood pressure and am 56 yrs old).

Ken GreyEagle
Greyeagle
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Comments

  • I could only sleep in my recliner for 3 weeks. I guess it depends, are you going to be wearing a collar? I wore big T-shirts and sweat pants when I had my surgery, that is what I was most comfortable in. I guess it depends on what is comfortable for you now.
    The first surgery I had was 3-6 and I went back to work after 4 weeks. The 2nd surgery I had was 6-7, but they had to take out my first plate and put in another, I was off 8 weeks. I went to work for 2 months and quit my job permanetly.
    Let us know what your appointment brings on Monday, I will be thinking about you...
    Good Luck,
    Jeanette :SS
  • That's awesome that the block gave you some relief! Woo hoo any relief is to be celebrated, no matter if it's temp or perm.

    I found that button up shirts were okay for the first couple weeks, but after that I was able to go to loose pull over shirts and they were more comfortable. I wore a lot of shorts and scrub pants or sweat pants (without the elastic leg cuffs). Something easy to pull on without having to try and bend. I could sit on the bed and slide them up to my knees and then pull them up as I stood up from there.

    "C"
  • Hi 'C'...Looks like you Scuba Dive. I've never tried that adventure. Bet its a lot of fun!

    I've been thinking about what I'll be able to wear and get on,especially if I have a hard collar. I know this surgeon does do Hard Collars because I've seen others of his patients coming in to see him with those on. None of them looked thrilled! Lol!

    I'd like a nice bath robe. I decided after I knew I was going to have this surgery I'd like the toy my wife, daughter and son in law have: an Apple IPod! Unfortunately I asked too late. I have to wait until Nov 30th now before my Long Term Disability kicks in. That will give me only 65 percent of my normal pay. It is better than 0 percent...but it puts us on a stricter budget...so...no IPod for now. :''(

    I'll survive. I just hope I can keep playing World of Warcraft after this debacle! LOL. Probably not for some time.

    Anyway, thanks for your comments! :)

    Ken GreyEagle
    Greyeagle
  • Hello Ken!
    Know that you are in my thoughts. I have read your posts & kinda know what you are going through.
    The recliner was the only place that I could feel half-way comfortable. I now 7 weeks post acdf c 5-6 & can sleep in my bed ( after much time & energy arranging all the pillows just right). I have yet to sleep through the night, I know I soon will.
    I lived in tank tops, pull on shorts & flipflops. I was able to pull the shirt over my head. It was difficult at times & my husband was helping. My fingers could not manoveur buttons.
    Keep us updated as there are a lot of folks here eager to help you out the best that they can.
    I know that coming here has realy helped me understand & cope.
  • HI Ken,

    I have been following your progression a bit and it sounds as if your finally getting closer to the surgery stuff!

    I think that everyones body is different in how it handles things after surgery and during the recovery of the ACDF. Four levels is a lot. I saw you mentioned above3 tehn somepleace else four levels...is that my mistake or are the docs still debating on what to do?? I know that it was a toss up as to how many to do on my neck.

    For after surgery I had ordered a wedge pillow set. It was spendy, but a really really good investment! It came about 2 days after I got home and I will tell you that I get a great nights sleep with it. It is made from the same stuff a tempurpedic mattress is made of and it also came with 2 smaller pillows one for under the neck and one that says it is for lumbar but I use it for either my head or under my knees. It is a really good quality piilow. That is waht worked for me! The wedge is long so I never ever slide down on it. It is such a dream.

    As for clothes...well I basically did the tank top thing or the pajama tops. When I went out I just put on my regualr clothes as long as they did not go under my collar.

    I should have said in the begining that I had a 2 level
    ACDF C 4-5 and C 5-6, on Spetember 3rd so just over 3 weeks ago!

    I had no problem getting in an out of T-shirt type clothes. My Pj's have either tank tops or t-shirt type tops.

    One thing that did happen was I did get some skin irritation under my Brace (ASPEN hard collar) I ended up having to call doc about it and i followed their directioons and it has thus wnet away. i now have a piece of a T-shirt that I cave cut to fit under a certain area of the collar that was causing an irritation to my sking. If something like that happens please do not follow what I have said because I am not a doc...Call your doc and see what he/she says to do about it.

    Remember you can always PM me and we can talk that way if you need more support.
    Oh- I looked for a nice robe too, but I just never found one before surgery that I liked...so I hope you find a nice comfy one!! :)

    Chrissy
  • HI Ken,

    I have been following your progression a bit and it sounds as if your finally getting closer to the surgery stuff!

    I think that everyones body is different in how it handles things after surgery and during the recovery of the ACDF. Four levels is a lot. I saw you mentioned above3 tehn somepleace else four levels...is that my mistake or are the docs still debating on what to do?? I know that it was a toss up as to how many to do on my neck.

    For after surgery I had ordered a wedge pillow set. It was spendy, but a really really good investment! It came about 2 days after I got home and I will tell you that I get a great nights sleep with it. It is made from the same stuff a tempurpedic mattress is made of and it also came with 2 smaller pillows one for under the neck and one that says it is for lumbar but I use it for either my head or under my knees. It is a really good quality piilow. That is waht worked for me! The wedge is long so I never ever slide down on it. It is such a dream.

    As for clothes...well I basically did the tank top thing or the pajama tops. When I went out I just put on my regualr clothes as long as they did not go under my collar.

    I should have said in the begining that I had a 2 level
    ACDF C 4-5 and C 5-6, on Spetember 3rd so just over 3 weeks ago!

    I had no problem getting in an out of T-shirt type clothes. My Pj's have either tank tops or t-shirt type tops.

    One thing that did happen was I did get some skin irritation under my Brace (ASPEN hard collar) I ended up having to call doc about it and i followed their directioons and it has thus wnet away. i now have a piece of a T-shirt that I cave cut to fit under a certain area of the collar that was causing an irritation to my sking. If something like that happens please do not follow what I have said because I am not a doc...Call your doc and see what he/she says to do about it.

    Remember you can always PM me and we can talk that way if you need more support.
    Oh- I looked for a nice robe too, but I just never found one before surgery that I liked...so I hope you find a nice comfy one!! :)

    Chrissy
  • Hi Chrissy:

    Yeah, I'm not sure what my NS is going to say Monday on the extent of my surgery. I know the last time I talked to him he was ordering the C-6 Nerve Block to make sure the pain in my left arm was coming from that area. It turned out it was. The disc at C-6 is impinging on my C-6 Nerve root as well as bone spurs in the area.

    He did say that was only 1 of my problems. I have bulging discs and bone spurs from C-3 to 7. But, I'll know Monday exactly what extent this surgery is going to be. I have seen other patients in his waiting room with hard collars so I'm sure I'll get one. They don't look like fun. LOL.

    I am going to try to order a nice bath robe. We have a medical supply Company which is very well stocked across from my doctor's office so I'll probably get wedge pillows from there. We do not have a recliner but I'm sure I can place pillows in such a way on our King Size bed I'll be able to manage that way. We also have a large TV and free cable tv with all the channels (I work for the cable company) in our bedroom. I also love to read. So that should be good.

    I will certainly PM you as I'm going thru all of this. I have always been one to get skin infections easily. That situation got worse after I came down with Type 2 Diabetes. I have to put skin lotion on my lower legs twice a day. That will be interesting after surgery. LOL.

    I hope to spend a lot of time on the porch or in our backyard too. We are surrounded by 3 mountains and we live in the unincorporated area of the town up the hill a ways in the foothills of the Washington State Cascade Mountains. Gorgeous area.

    Ok. I better quit for now. Thanks so much for your comments, Chrissy!

    Ken GreyEagle
    Greyeagle
  • I am 2 1/2 weeks post op 2 level ACDF. I too was worried about what I could wear post op. The first few days I wore button down PJs and then switched to tank tops and shorts.

    Make sure you have a good pair of walking shoes. Walking helps fusion.

    My doc has me in a hard collar for 3 months. Ask the nurses or doc in the hospital if you can get an extra collar. It has been great for me as I wear one in the shower. I switch off so they each get clean in the shower. The collars get sweaty after wearing all day long especially now as it is still warm out.

    I got a wedge pillow from Bed Bath and Beyond which was great for sleeping in bed. Also, I love my down filled pillows, they seem to mold well.

    Good luck Ken. Keep up updated on your progress.
  • Hi Crash! Luckily in the shoe department I have really nice diabetic shoes I get once a year at no cost to me thru my Insurance. I also have flat feet.

    I need to walk more in general. We live in a gorgeous area so I have no excuse. I ordered 2 button down shirts and a nice bath robe online today thru King Size Direct. I have no button down shirts that fit so this will be good.

    I never wear pajamas so that's not a problem. I always sleep in my boxer shorts and that's all I wear to bed. I figure its gonna be a pain putting on pants so I bought the bath robe to wear around the house and the yard. We have a huge back yard and tall fence.

    I saw wedge pillows at our local medical supply store across from where my doctors office is. I already have long pillows I can stack up on the bed. We kind of resist 'down' related stuff because of our cats like to carve things up. LOL.

    Thanks for your advise. I'll post tomorrow after I get back from my surgeon the extent of the surgery he plans on. If its the same as what my DO says it will be 4 level C-3 thru C-7.

    Talk to ya later,

    GreyEagle :H
    Greyeagle
  • Grey Eagle, as you are contemplating surgery, please keep in mind that you only have one neck, and you can never go back after having a spinal fusion. It sounds as if the C6 nerve root is the one causing the biggest majority of your problems.

    going into my first surgery, I had problems from C5 to T1. Actually C4 has some issues as well, but not too bad at that time. I had the mentality of "fix it all while we are in there." I wish I could go back and change that. Multi-levels are much harder to recover from, and cause much more strain on the levels adjacent to your fusion level. One would think that surgery is surgery and it all has the same recovery periods, but with spine surgery, this is completely different.

    You always want to follow the advice of your surgeons, but please remember that the nerve root at C6 causing your current pain could be all that you need decompressed at this time. Ask your doctor if the benefits outweigh the risks of having more done, and what the effects are of having a 4 level fusion. I would suggest to ask your surgeon for an estimation of time before you will need more work done. No one has a crystal ball, of course. I have read some articles that indicate that some surgeons feel that multi-level fusions are highly over used, and that in fact, seldom does one need more than one level performed at the same time. Of course, there are situations where it is necessary for multi-levels though. I would hope that the work I had done initially was absolutely necessary, but I do have my doubts, and like I said, I can never go back. I have to wonder how different things would be if I only had two levels done as initially planned, rather than bumping it up to three. I would just encourage everyone to be careful.

    Also, the average return to work time is way too long. Some are back very quickly; for others of us it is much longer. It all depends on how much work you have done, and how those silly nerves respond to being manipulated during the surgery.

    Good luck to you.
    cindy
    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
  • Ken, I'm going to have a 3-lvl ACDF on Oct. 21 and personally, I've decided that this will be an excellent time to get my WoW character up to lvl 70. She's lvl 63 now. :D
  • How'd the appointment go today?
  • Pull up shorts and tank tops is what I wore. I am glad it was summer. I also wore slip on's or flip flops. I can not stand wearing shoes in the summer. I am 6 wks po and feeling better. Started PT on my shoulder and left arm it hurts but I got to rebuild my strenght. I have to get to 75% before I am done. Good Luck
  • At this juncture it looks like I might just have a 1 or 2 level C-5 to C-6 and maybe C-6 to C-7, plus he mentioned a laminectomy and wasn't sure if he was going to go in from the front or back. But this is all speculation to a degree until we get the tests done he wants.

    Although the wait is frustrating I'm thankful he wants to be sure before opening me up. I'm thinking 3 to 4 months recovery, maybe 5 me being diabetic and I do not heal quickly at all.

    I did order a nice Bath Robe from King Size Direct and some nice button down shirts. I figure I'll be spending a lot of time deciding the heck with putting clothes on. LOL.

    Thanks guys for all your sharing! You're great!

    Ken GreyEagle
    Greyeagle
  • This is something I did not consider 8> lol, I am down for a single C5-5 disc and osteophyte, they are putting a cage in. Think I better look into the pillow situation, I have a manual recliner but hoping to get an electric one on loan with view to purchase from OT department.
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