Well "grab a cup of coffee" - this is long and pitiful I am confessing my post surgical outcome thus far from a one level ACDF on C6/C7 with PEEK CAGE.
Well, most of you know my history so I won't go into that other than I am 39 years old, female with a long standing history of osteoarthritis throughout my whole spine. Fast forward to last November when I finally had enough and my NS said I should have C6/C7 done ACDF because of a large herniated disk. I had that done on 11/6/08 and went home in a card Aspen cervical collar. He went in and found it to be grossly degenerated and then did "generous bilateral foraminatomies". He used PEEK cage system instead of cadaver bone.
Recovery went smooth. On 11/19/08 I received by bone growth stimular. I kept smoking thinking my stimular would counter act the effects of my smoking. 1st 6 wk appt. I was told I should try to cut down because fusion was very slow. My punishment was I had to wear the hard collar ANOTHER 6 weeks. Yay, whatever I tried to quit- didn't work. Second 6 week appt. (Last monday), I was told again - but with more emphasis - he showed me the xrays and even though I AM FUSING- it's VERY VERY slow. He said there is still time to reverse this if you quit now. I am taking you out of the hard collar because at some point it starts doing more damage than anything. Put me in a soft one now for 6 weeks,then I wean out of that completely 1 hour less each day. I go back 4/27 for follow-up and xrays.
I started crying and explained to him my addiction - nothing works for me except the patch. I said if I were to pick a poison, which one? He said, well then, if you have to - pick the patch. Start at the middle dosage, work your way down to quit. So, last Wed. I put on the patch and I have NOW BEEN SMOKE FREE FOR ALMOST A WEEK.
He also said "your symptoms WILL return if this doesn't fuse - although there is no guarantee it's your smoking causing the slow fusion - it could be something else we just don't know". But it's been proven over and over - you know...?
I feel so horribly guilty I am causing this to happen after everything I have gone through to get this fixed and I CHOSE to smoke, I CHOSE to almost ruin my surgery.
Well, now I am CHOOSING to reverse it - so there! LOL!
Please don't harp on me about my choice to smoke - I already feel guilty enough. I just posted this to get this off my chest and warn everyone else who has fusion surgery - PLEASE TRY TO STOP SMOKING before your surgery - WELL before your surgery so you aren't so stressed to do it after the fact.
My GF who is same age - had lumbar surgery at same clinic - did not quit smoking even though they told her to - now is facing her 4th lumbar revision surgery.
I don't want that to be me.