My cervical spine "issues" actually started with whiplash in a car accident in 1999! For a long time I only had a stiff neck and really did not think a lot about it. I finally saw a local doctor who took xrays and said that C4 was quite twisted, C5 was forced forward, and C6 was slightly out of position. I was prescribed PT for several weeks. The PT used traction and home exercises. And I stayed pretty much the same. We moved to VA and it's been almost 9 years since the original accident!
I had had and L 4-5 fusion due to a separate accident at work 2 years ago. I am still working with that. However, during some of the PT, my left shoulder was hurt. I visited a shoulder specialist who suggested a shoulder replacement! I then saw a spine specialist about my neck when I'd read online about radicular pain from the neck. EDITED had xrays and MRIs and ENG and Myelogram done. It appeared that the problem was in my neck and not related to the shoulder more than likely.
The stiff neck from that old car accident was aggravated into left shoulder pain and range of motion problems, upper left arm pain, left forearm numbness and numbness and tingling the my fingers of my left hand... and subsequent total weakness of the left arm.
Yesterday morning, April 30, I had a fusion of C4,5, 6, 7. Dr. EDITED, reported that I'd had 3 seriously herniated disks, major instability of all 4 vertebrae, significant arthritis and loads of bone spurs resulting in stenosis of all of the foramen (holes through which the spinal nerves branch off to their respective areas). He removed the offending disks; "reamed" out the foramen and cleaned up the areas in the vertebrae. He added machined(especially milled to fit the areas between each pair of vertebrae)allografts. He fused C4-5, C5-6, and C6-7 using Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF). This took place as I said yesterday morning. One of the doctor's looking in on me after the surgery remarked on Dr. EDITED work: "very tidy surgery! No drainage at all."
I am home tonight! I feel great! I have no left arm symtoms at all! There is a slanted incision just to the left of my tracheal area on my nrck. I must wear an Aspen collar for 12 weeks, while my bone grows on/through the allografts (donated sterilized bone)to fuse the 4 vertebrae completely. I may not drive for the next 2 weeks but otherwise my activities are not hampered except that I may not move my neck much. My neck is still stiff and a little sore after the surgery. I do have a very slight incision site pain: I have a little sore throat on the left (incision site) side and a little inflamation due to the fiber optic intubation through my left nostril into the trachea and then lungs.
I am absolutely amazed! Yesterday morning as I sat in Pre Op, I could not rotate my head; my shoulder and arm were in such pain that I had to hold my whole left arm close to my body. Today, my left arm is completely operational-- no pain, no numbness, no tingling and no weakness! WOW!
Thanks for letting me share my good news. I was really nervous going into the operation (see my late post about 3.5 hours before I had to be at the hospital yesterday morning about 5:30AM). I was nervous about the proximity to the spinal column and spinal nerves of the work being done. And I was nervous about the anesthesia especially, because of my strong sensitivity to it.
I feel especially blessed for the vital and accurate information available on this site -- And indeed for the opportunity to share my story with all of you. It was through this site that I learned about the operation in detail which was so helpful for me to become more settled in my decision to proceed.
It was more especially helpful to read all of your encouraging posts and explanations of your experiences. I felt much more at ease although very sleepy arriving at Pre Op yesterday morning. THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH for your help and encouragement!!!
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