Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

I must be doing something wrong

dehoyos13ddehoyos13 Posts: 290
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:39 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery

HI all. My ACDF (2 level) was Nov. 6th. That's like 5 weeks now. I am at a loss as to what I'm doing wrong. I think I've had maybe 5 nights in all this time that I sleep the night. The doctor gave me Valium...stops the spasms but doesn't put me to sleep...HOWEVER...I'm so tired the next day that I'll fall asleep just watching a movie, reading a book, sitting at the dining room table (trust me...that's not cute :* ). So other nights I take Tylenol PM and no Valium....it has worked twice but doesn't stop the spasms, which of course means that I'm waking up again.

I'm tired of being tired. Tired of the aching in the back of my neck. Tired of crying (and I am NOT a cryer typically). I thought by now I'd be doing more things. Cooking for my family is a trip and a half. Our pots and pans are heavy. My cabinets are high. Gosh...I'm frustrated! I thought I was doing good. I had a good 2 days at the end of last week so I though to try moving back into my own bedroom (waterbed from my last post). That didn't work and I've been in pain since. I walk on the treadmill but if I can do 5 minutes at a time....thats a lot. I'd previously lost 38 pounds since Jan. I've put about 11 pounds back on in 5 week!!!!!! I need to be more active but find that I can't handle it and its hard to be patient.

So I'm sitting here, typing and crying. WHY AM I CRYING???? These stupid tears come at the drop of a hat. I like to walk outside but I'm in NYC and its cold. The tightening up to try to stay warm...believe me not a good idea.

There are days that I am so positive about this and feel great! And then there are days like today, where I'm so tired that after sending my son off to school, I'm back in the bedroom. Because my sleep is so erratic, I'll probably fall asleep but in all this, I think I'm laying around too much.

sorry to vent...I'm so frustrated and weepy today.


  • In addition to the hormonal changes that are caused by a general anesthetic, I think there is a natural let-down after surgery. We all pin our hopes on the surgery relieving our pain and making us better. Even though we tell ourselves that recovery will be long and it will take awhile to feel better, it is natural to be disappointed when that turns out to be the reality.

    I've lost count of how many people within the past couple days have commented on how they just can't stop crying. Maybe this time of year there is more involved emotionally than usual.

    Try to be patient -- patient with the situation, and patient with yourself. Give yourself permission to sleep when you are tired...even if it doesn't come at night. Remember that things will not be this way forever. You will gradually start to improve, even though the road may be a bit bumpy from time to time.

    Sometimes people expect that recovery will just continue in an upward trajectory...but, usually there will be good days and bad...Just when you think you've turned the corner, along comes a new pain...that's just part of the healing.

    I haven't had cervical surgery so I cannot comment on the timeline...for lumbar fusion, five weeks is still very early in recovery. Don't beat yourself up. I doubt you are doing anything wrong. Try to stay positive as best you can...and remember, this too shall pass.

    Take good care --

  • Thanks for the quick response. I too have been reading about all the crying. I'm not accustomed to this and I feel useless. My husband was just joking with me and reminded me that it takes time... but I cry anyway. This is really saying something because the last time I cried this much was when my mom died 3 years ago.

    I go back to my surgeon in 2 days. I have a load of questions for him...and I hope I don't start crying in his office. Hopefully the xrays will show that fusion has begun since I'm wearing the dumb bone growth stimulator 24/7. If it hasn't begun then I'll probably cry right there!!! ha ha

    Scary for me is that I have 2 herniated disks in my lower back...back after all of this...I'd have to be in a hell of a lot of pain to have this surgery again. I've been doing a lot of praying. I am a woman of faith but I'm still weepy and depressed.

    My husband laughed this morning. I shared all my misery...feeling useless, tired of hurting and not sleeping and he was great. And then I lost it, started crying and said "I want to be able to brush the back of my hair!". He lost it....just started laughing and laughing. I love that guy but my hair is a wreck! My hair blower is heavy and my hair is past my shoulders. What vanity! But don't we feel better when we think we look better?????

    thanks gwennie. Its good to have an "ear"...well, I guess "eye" in this case.
  • I'm at 5 months post op ACDF 5-6, 6-7, and STILL have bad days. Everyone heals at a different rate, but you are really early in your recovery. Don't be so hard on yourself! You've just had a very major surgery, and that's going to take a while to recover from. When you're tired, take a nap! If you don't feel like cooking dinner, there are some really great frozen entrees on the market now, and kids LOVE the frozen chicken nuggets!

    I think Gwennie's completely right about our expectations after a surgery. It's terrifying putting your life in the hands of a surgeon, no matter how much you trust them, and the buildup is so scary that when you finally wake up from the surgery, you're thinking the worst is over and everything should be just fine now. A lot of surgeons downplay the rough road of recovery, and there will be times that the recovery is going to be rough.

    As far as your sleeping issues, have you discussed this with your doc? You may want to see if he recommends a sleep aid. Tylenol PM, and a lot of the other OTC stuff, use the active ingredients of Benadryl for their sedative effects. There may be another medication that is specifically for sleep, that would work better for you, as with most of the OTC stuff you're getting additional medication (acetaminophen for example).

    Like Gwennie says, try to stay as positive as possible. It's hard, I know, but you'll feel better for it! Things will get better, and in the meantime, stop by and vent when you need to!
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,859
    a long time at all. Generally patients get some immediate relief from the initial symptoms that brought them to have the ACDF.

    But the entire recovery process takes time. There is no set margin that you should be fine and almost pain free from. There are so many variables that go into that equation.

    With your ACDF did you wear a collar , soft or hard post surgery? There has been many discussions regarding the use of collars after ACDF. I've had 2 ACDF (1994 and 2000) and both times I had to wear those hard collars (24x7) for 6 weeks. Then I was able to start physical therapy to help build up my neck muscles. That was key in helping to avoid cervical issues.

    Like I started with, your surgery is still new so unless you are going outside lifting boulders, playing basketball, skiing, etc you are doing nothing wrong. It all takes time.

    There are times when things look so bright and you feel good inside and then there are those dark days when everything goes wrong and crying is about your only release. That is normal, I would venture to say every person who has some type of spinal surgery, man or woman has experienced the same.

    Try something soothing before you go to bed.
    Warm moist heat on your neck, soft relaxation music,etc.

    I still have troubles sleeping in this is over 30+ years from my first spinal surgery. What helps me sleep is my trusty IPOD. Depending on how I feel at night, I have a different playlist to help me fall asleep.

    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • My doctor didn't prescribe any sort of neck brace. Its hard to remember what they tell you in the hospital before they sign your release but I think he said that because of the plate he put in, I'd have enough stability for my neck. This many weeks later, I realize that this didn't help in terms of ensuring I didn't make a sudden turn in the wrong direction. I paid lots of times for that one!

    Yesterday I sneezed for the first time since the surgery. OMG...I thought my head was gonna fly off!

    I'll take it slow. I've got to get to the library because I've read every one of my books and my sister's books. I love to read and can get lost in a good fiction. But not horror type stuff...vivid imagination!

    I guess the timing for this was really off. One of my husband's business collapsed and now he's just working like crazy to keep us afloat. I haven't worked in 5 weeks so there's a needed income missing. I already told my kids Christmas will come in January for them. They're old enough to understand.

    I just do not like weepy days. I do use music at night to help me settle...even if I don't fall asleep. I get to watch movies on Netflix too. That's cool.

    I'm going to make dinner a family affair today. My husband cooks great but the mess is more than my poor son can take. he's the only one left at home, the older two have flown the coop 22 & 20. Poor kid...cleaning such a big house. Then again...its mostly his mess except when hubby cooks! ha ha.

    I didn't know. My doctor didn't say a word about how much time recovery would take. He's a wonderful doctor. The hospital I had surgery at brought him over from S. Africa to lead their dept of Ortho. he's amiable and competent. Just lacked details. Had Iknown this...I would've waited. I would've saved more money, made better arrangements. Oh well...hindsight is 20/20 isn't it?

    Off to try the treadmill again. Help me Jesus!!!!! That thing kicks my butt!

    Thanks guys. I'll keep posting. And I'll let you all know what my doc says in 2 days. If you're in the NY area and hear in the news that a lady went crazy in the doctor's office and had to be restrained....that'd be me. Just kidding. If I take a Valium before I get there, it won't even bother me! Ha ha....another joke.

  • As for sleeping - My nurse practitioner suggested taking melatonin - an OTC herb thing. I only took the 5mg but there are higher doses available.

    It helped me sleep a lot better than Tylenol PM - too much - I can't take it if I've got to go to work later.

    It is also a mood elevator... and not supposed to interfere with meds.

    She wanted me taking it for a solid 3 months for depression -even though I did not feel depressed -said that no matter how I felt I'd just been through major surgery and anything to improve my 'copability' was going to help me in the long run.

    I'm glad I listened.
  • Saltzworks....I don't know what I was thinking!!!! My son is ADHD and on medication that gives him trouble falling asleep. I have a bottle of Melatonin in the medicine cabinet. It didn't work for him but it might for me. I'm going to try it tomorrow for sure. Because honestly...Valium does not make me sleep at least not at night...the next day, I'm so darn groggy its ridiculous!

    Keep us posted on your next procedure please!
Sign In or Register to comment.