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ACDF surgery tomorrow

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:30 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Greetings, everybody!

Tomorrow April 30th I will have a 3-level ACDF and will morph from a 'spiney' into a 'spiney with hardware". I want to thank everyone who has posted on this web site. Your comments and sharing of your experiences (pro and con) were very helpful to me while making the decision to move forward with this surgery.

I have researched all the options for many weeks, and ruled out the other forms of surgery and/or treatment methods. Some options were simply too risky (i.e. the two Tampa clinics), while other methods (Chiro) did not offer a long term solution. The weakness in my left arm is progressing to the point it is getting diffult to type this message without significant pain. I can no longer life a coffee cup.

So, for better or worse, I am going ahead with the procedure tomorrow, preparing for the worst and hoping for the best.

On Saturday night my older second cousin is having a 50th wedding celebration and I will attend if possible (this being the optimistic approach). The insurance company approved a 47-hour hospitalization so I assume I will be dischared on Saturday.

Since I am self-employed and business has been bad since December the option of "taking time off" does not exist. One way or the other I need to be working by next Monday. All I really need to be able to do is send and receive email to operate the business, so the odds are good. Today I will be fitted with the Miami J Collar (a real 'chick magnet' I am sure ;) so I will be able to practice using my computer tonight prior to surgery.

Whatever the outcome I am prepared to deal with it. The worst case for me would be to be totally incapacitated. While I have long term care insurance there is no disability insurance. The real fear is what would happen to my family if I cannot work. The house would be lost rather quickly, and at age 61 my wife is not likely to find employment any time soon. I am a recruiter and can attest that age descrimination is more widely practiced now that at any time in the 30+ years I have been finding jobs for people.

I will post a response as soon as I can after surgery to let you know how things turned out. I feel I have an obligation to share my experiences to help others who may be considering a surgical solution to their spinal problem.

If anyone would like to know the name of my surgeon or the
name of the hospital in Naperville, Illinois, please send a
private message to me, or a direct email (rdahm@itauditsearch.com). I have conducted research on my surgeon and he has an outstanding reputation.

Thank you for your support, suggestions, and insights. Without your input I would be going into surgery tomorrow
with fear and concern. I am comfortable with my decision
and will accept whatever outcome results from the surgery.

Very truly yours,
Ralph :)


  • Well, the time has finally come hasn't it? I know you've done a lot of research and I'm glad you found the surgeon that you're comfortable with - that's one of the most important things going into surgery.

    While the hard collar might not be a chick magnet, you'll find that there are a lot of people that will try to help you and strangers that will ask you if you've had "that" surgery. However, when you start wearing the soft collar, people will look at you like you're trying to sue someone. LOL - you think I'm kidding...

    Anyway, good luck on your surgery. I look forward to reading your update post. Here's to a speedy recovery!

  • Ralph,
    You will be in our thoughts and prayers. Hope that all goes well for you and soon you will be on your way to recovery. Good luck.

  • My thoughts & prayers go out to you for a successful surgery. Good luck tomorrow!
  • Thinking of you today...
  • My prayers are with you and all I keep thinking is after surgery, it can only get better! I wish you success!!!!!
  • Hi, Good luck. I am having the surgery May 18th. God Bless - I hope you are pain free and quickly back to work.

    take care,
    Mary Anne :)))
  • At this posting, you're a week post-op, rdahm. I'm two weeks post-op and sending best wishes your way.
  • BT,

    Thanks for your good wishes! I am doing well with some neck and shoulder pain, likely from the J collar. The NoRco 10/325 pain medicaion seems to take care of the pain for a few hours.

    My surgeon added an electronic bone stimulator this week. I wear it for 4 hours a day.

  • Hi Ralph

    I'm really happy your surgery went well and the pain meds are helping.

    Keep being patient and I hope you'll be pain free soon.


    XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
    ALIF L4/5 2009
    Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008
  • Happy to hear that you're doing well.
  • Here's to it only getting better!!!
  • Hey Ralph,

    So how are you doing? Everyone is different I guess, I was back to work on Monday with light duty. I do well with the pain meds, but nights are a beast! Fireworks down both arms and serious aches, but as soon as I get out of bed and walk around, and of course take the morning meds, I am fine again, all day. I have only a slight achy feeling in my back and shoulders and a few shocks here and there. I was told the soft collar was only if I needed it, and I hardly wear it. I use it to ice my scar, its so raised almost like I have a straw under my skin, but it is pink and closed completely.

    Strange thing for me was my lower leg nerve pain has left me completely, I thought it was from my lower bad discs, but apparently not. I did have cord compression in two places so maybe that was it...I use to have to sway when I stood still to soften the pain, but that pain is gone.

    I think I am healing pretty good and will follow-up with my neuro in June. after all its only nine days for us. But I tell ya, nights are a total bitch for me, I have to prop myself up to almost siting to stay comfortable otherwise it is major fireworks and some serious sleep disrupting pain.

    Would love to hear all about your progress.

  • Hi Chris,

    Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. I had surgery on April 30th, was released from the hospital two days later, and returned to work at my home office the following Monday. Since I am self-employed there really is not a choice about taking lots of time off! I have worked a full day every day since then. If I worked at an office I likely would have gone back to work just as soon, assuming I could find a ride. I still cannot drive, which is my major restriction.

    Eating seems to be a problem as I tend to choke every time I swallow, for some reason. Even taking the Miami J Collar off does not seem to help a great deal. Perhaps there is still swelling in my throat?

    I no longer take pain pills, stopping on May 10th. There is still some pain in my neck and upper back, which I attribute to the collar. I will be really glad when I do not have to wear this thing anymore.

    Also I wear the electronic bone stimulator 4 hours a day. Not really a bother, just another thing to do to promote recovery.

    How are things going for you these days? Have the nights gotten any easier?

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