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Well it is over with......mostly.

allen476aallen476 Posts: 9
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:46 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I had ACDF of C6/C7 yesterday. Just got back from the hospital this morning. Surgery went kind of strange as I received a phone call the day before telling me to report at 5AM instead of 9AM. Well I reported at 5AM like instructed (we have an hour commute to the hospital) and when we got there, no one else was there. Waited until 5:40 until the first nurse showed up. Got a bad omen sign when she told us that they start at 5:45.

Well I got in at 5:45 and from there it was a whirlwind. It wasn't a wait around for everybody to get it together thing. I was taken to surgery at 7:15AM and in the OR at 7:30. The anesthesiologist tried to intubate me while I was still awake because my neck is large and he was afraid that it would close up if I was out. Needless to say that I gagged the 2 times he tried to do it while I was conscious. It took him another 1 time to do it while I was out.

I guess that my experience is atypical. I woke up from surgery and could immediately tell that it was a success. The shoulder, neck and arm pain was GONE. The only thing left was some hand pain. The stiff neck I had when I went in to surgery was gone. I couldn't believe it. The surgeon was very happy with the surgery as well. He told me that it is rare that he gets a case that the damage on the MRI was what he found when he got in there and that it wasn't worse. Surgery only took 45 minutes. The only things that are sore today are the incision cite and some muscle cramping in the back of my neck. The sore throat from the intubation is worse than those though. My surgeon is an awesome guy though he doesn't spend a lot of time with you. He checks in with you at least 3 times after surgery on the day of surgery and twice the day of discharge. Answered all questions completely and honestly. Didn't use the "I am god" attitude and is generally a nice person. If you are looking for a surgeon in the Upstate NY area near the Binghamton,Elmira,Syracuse area, send me a PM and I will email you his name and number.

I am not bragging by any means but offering words of encouragement to people that surgeries can go well. I have read many stories on here that things were worse than planned and that they aren't recovering well, and etc. Well there are small glimmers of hope that surgery can go as planned.

Well I am off to Percocet land...

Allen
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Comments

  • Allen,

    What you described in so far as recovery feelings when you awoke, I had when my C5/6 was done. It was the first time in my life I actually experienced "Happy Tears!" It's a wonderful feeling huh? Hopefully your recovery will be just as good! :)

    Brenda
    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • As a "backie" not a "neckie" it amazes me the difference in hospital stay and recovery time.

    Glad you are doing well

    Tonya
  • Let the healing begin. I am so glad your not into much pain and are feeling better. As your surgeon said they don't see to many cases as what they see on the MRI is the true picture of the damage. Now the big part is that you follow those instructions to the T. I have seen many members come out with your success story and then think oh it don't hurt any longer and few weeks down the road hit the lows. Some of that is they put so many drugs in during that surgery and they are wearing off, but then some of that i think people no longer feel the incision pain and begin cheating a bit. So be sure to follow the instructions. Remember walking is your best friend. If your surgeon didn't give you a walking program you can goggle the net and find some. My favorite is 10,000 steps. Anyway good luck and keep us posted on the recovery. Take care.
  • Fantastic that your original pain is gone and you're on the recovery road.

    I wonder if they told you to be there at 5 am because some people get there late. Good that once it got to their start time, things started to move. Nothing worse than having to hang around for hours - I had that recently when I was told to get there at 11 am and surgery wasn't until after 6 pm.

    As Tamtam has said, be sure to follow instructions and walk as much as you can.

    Trish













    XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
    ALIF L4/5 2009
    Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008
  • Yes it was a happy tears moment. Then I moved and it was gone for a few minutes as the other pain set in. Took about 6 hours for that pain to subside. Today's pain is mild, just some cramping at the back of my neck.

    I do have to have l5/s1 fused next. Should be around the end of the year. So I will become a neckie and backie. The doctor wants to see how I heal first before doing it.

    I am following the walking program they gave me. Went last night for the 1/4 mile walk. Going this morning for another 1/4 mile then tonight will be an 1/8 mile. I have been tempted to cheat (no collar) but I am afraid that I would fall and then be in real trouble. So for the next 4 weeks at least I have to wear the hard collar for anything that requires moving and the soft collar for everything else (except eating, sleeping, and showering). Tried eating with the collar on, I looked like a 2 year old eating spaghetti the first time.

    Well off to rest, can't sit here too long.

    Allen



  • Allen,

    To cheat is tempting sure, but you could risk cheating yourself out of a full recovery, but you know that. :) My NS kept me in the hard collar 24/7 for 2 weeks, then the soft collar for 4 more. I actually felt more secure in the beginning with my collar on.

    Walking, walking, walking - works great, lasts a long time! You're sounding real good. Congrats!!! :)

    Brenda
    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Hey Allen,

    I had surgery just 3 weeks ago and I call it my sentence to this collar and brace. I am in the miami J CTO 24/7 and for showering a soft collar and need to be in it till november on my next appointment. So while you maybe tempted to cheat don't do it. Trust me as someone whom has had multiple cervical surgeries the risk is not worth it. There is no reward. I had to laugh at the eating issue. Tonight had pasta thank god for extra pads because they needed to be changed for sure. Anyway while it is uncomfortable my guess is your surgeon wants to be sure the hardware sets up and I am sure you will be released from it soon. A word of caution is when you loose it your neck muscles are going to be some what weak so don't be surprised if you have additional muscle spasms, but then again maybe you will be lucky and not have any. Keep us posted and congrats on the walking and doing so well with it. Take care.
  • Welcome home and glad to hear, despite your interesting surgery prep story, that you are doing well!
  • Well I am not going to cheat. That is only risking re-injury or worse. The doctor said not to wear any type of collar while sleeping. He then added showering and eating as the only other times I don't have to wear it. Though I couldn't make nurse Ratchet understand that Monday night.

    Release is about 3 months away. That is why I have both collars right now. I do have to remember to change them depending on what I am doing. Soft is for soft activities (watching tv, sitting, reading e-mail, surfing the net, etc) hard is for hard activities (walking, riding in a car, driving eventually in 2-3 weeks, standing, etc). I have a Miami J collar as well but not the CTO. Wasn't allowed to get out of bed at the hospital until I had it. Then he had them get me a soft collar as well just for the ease and explained when I can use it. Just having problems adjusting to having to wear them.

    My next appointment is August 27th. Just to get stitches out and have an x-ray. I finally will get to see not only the beautiful scar I will have, but my hardware as well. Then I know that the next appointment will be 2 weeks after that. Hopefully I can drive to that one.

    Allen
  • So glad that your surgery went well. It's nice to hear stories like yours from time to time. I hope things continue to go well!!! Take care...
  • Hey allen,

    Well depends on how good you are with your mirrors. As someone single it is kind of hard not to do it. So I do cheat to the grocery store around the corner and the drug store two blocks away. But I didn't mention driving on my post op appointment so it got left off the restrictions. But honestly for now I will only go those few places right around here. The key is picking a space that you pull straight out of and don't have to back out of. Then of course relying mostly on the mirrors.

    Before long you will be out of the brace and collar and off to the races per say.
  • I had the same experience upon waking from my C5-C7 ACDF. The searing nerve pain was gone. I had some residual pain and numbness that took a while to heal and the tip of my left index finger never felt 100% again (feels a bit numb but no big deal).

    I had an Aspen Collar for 7 weeks. I was actually fearing it as I don't even like turtleneck shirts but actually the collar was reassuring. I knew it kept me in the correct alignment and I wouldn't accidentally bend or turn my neck (like if my husband dropped a cup I wasn't going to whip around to look at the source of the sound and then realize I turned wrong). I was diligent in wearing it for the first 5-6 weeks. At around that time we went to a friends house one evening and I had a sudden feeling of "neck claustrophobia" (I felt that if I didn't take it off we'd have to leave so I could go home, it was an odd feeling). I removed it for dinner but had it back on an hour or so later. But I always wore it when up and about, sleeping, driving, riding in a car, etc. My fear was that I'd fall asleep and my neck would just kind of gently fall to the side and I'd wake up in pain. So wear the collar as much as the doctor prescribes it. If you are like me it has to be worn EXCEPT when in the shower. Thus when you get further along slight breaks from it might be okay (i.e. when eating dinner) but be very careful.
    Multiple ACDFs, Multiple Lumbar Fusions; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty

  • The only problem that I am having wearing them all of the time is that I sweat a lot. The pads get soaked and then my skin starts to break out. I ordered a second set of pads for them but the place sent the wrong ones.

    Haven't had too many other problems except trying to arrange my pillows at night to take the pressure off my neck. If I could figure that out I would be in heaven. Then I wouldn't need a Percocet in the morning. I am down from 2 every 4 hours to 1 in the morning and one at night at bed.

    I might try wearing the soft collar to bed tonight. He said not to wear one to bed, but come 4am, I have to get up because of stiffness. Might try it tonight to see if I can sleep through. I have another pillow arrangement to try as well.

    Allen
  • Had my first post surgery follow up today. Everything is going fine and they gave me a new collar to wear along with a bone growth stimulator. Scar looks good and not very big or visible. Was given the clearance to drive and weight restriction was raised from 5 pounds to 10 pounds. Otherwise told not to do anything that would strain my neck. Hopefully when I go back in a month that I can go back to work.

    Allen
  • Sounds like you're doing well, apart from sweating with the collar.

    You'll be so happy now that you can drive again.

    Keep following your doctor's advice and you could very well be ready to go back to work.

    Trish











    XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
    ALIF L4/5 2009
    Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008
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