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New here - Facing more surgery

Oboe1ALOOboe1AL Posts: 2
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:47 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I had ACDFusions for ruptures at C4/5 and C6/7 in April of 2009. Lumbar 4/5 fused in July 2009. Had to have C5/6 done this May 2010. Just had MRI this past Wednesday and C3/4 is now ruptured and the fusion at C6/7 has shifted and both are causing serious pressure on the spinal cord ... and now C7 is also bulging. More surgery scheduled for Dec 15. I have used up all FMLA leave & it will take until Dec 15 to accrue just two weeks to recover from this next surgery. Will have to return to work Jan 3 or risk losing my job.

I have degenerative disc disease ... does this ever stop? I have serious pain 24/7 in my neck - numbness in fingers & along arm. It is all I can do to make it through each day at work. I am almost to the point of tears by 10 a.m. I'm an accountant & have to look down at paperwork & computer all day. I have modified my desk & propped my work up as much as possible. Any ideas on how to get through this ... or what I can expect in the future.



  • HI Al,

    First let me say welcome to spine-health. Have a look around and you will find many others going through what you are or whom have been there. Also look at the literature here on degenative disc disease and that might help you understand more.

    In your case it sounds as though you having issues with adjacent disc disease or failure. Basically meaning the fusion placed additional stress on the other levels and caused you more issues. I can very much relate to your issues having had cervical spine surgery 6 times. Currently I am fused from c3-c7, with the last level being added in not long ago and still wearing a miami j brace.

    As far as going back to work, have you discussed that with your surgeon and have his/her full support? Also will they be using any type of bracing and how you will function looking down? I applaud you on your efforts to maintain your employment and understand the position one can be in with employers and risk of loosing jobs. Hopefully this go around your surgeon will fix everything and you will be done. Be sure if your going back to work to come home and basically do nothing post surgery so your body can rest and catch up.

    Just thought I would stop by and welcome you to spine-health. If there is anything I can do don't hesitate to pm me. Good luck with the surgery and keep us posted on how you get along. Take care.
  • Oboe, sorry to hear about the need for the C-Spine surgeries and in such a short period of time.

    You say you have surgery scheduled on Dec. 15th - - what levels is the surgeon planning to do?

    I can understand the dilemma with working and time off, but I would be concerned about attempting to do a major C-Spine recovery in such a short period of time. I have been unable to work for past year and previous to that had trauma recovey from a major motor vehicle.

    I say that knowing the levels you are mentioning are unique areas of the C-Spine upper and lower both. It can be complex and a could very well mean a longer recovery and depending on procedure, approaches of surgery, anterior or poster (front or back) or both.

    DDD disease is very difficult disease and creates challenges even for office and it required adjustments for me when I worked full time.

    Re: Looking Down - - ouch !!! Yes, I know what your feeling !!!

    Being long-term DDD since me 20's & most my career in an office for 30 years... ergonomics and adjustments are a MUST!!

    Few tips, if you haven't done or tried: (1) I adjusted to where my Computer monitor was, level so my head was slightly tilted up and not lower for those C-5/6/7 levels that would bother me. (2) Any paperwork I worked with for the computer was clipped on a t-bar off the side of my computer monitor screen or free-standing document holder (like a bookstand with a clip to hold documents or position higher or lower(3) Any paperwork I had to look down, write on and work on was adjusted up higher than my desk and at an angle to view without that severe tilt down - -I would stack / tier empty 3-ring binders for better angle and put paperwork on top. It helped me alot and also elevated/angled for my arm support across the desk too - worked great.

    There are several here with multiple DDD C-Spine issues with multiple surgeries that you can get acquainted with - - each of us know this disease well and yet there is variations of lifestyle some working some not. I am not working, on disability benefits, but work part-time between surgeries up until last year. I know it has helped me to find the support here of the challenges of this disease and the path of surgeries and recovery.

    Hope you are able to set some good support and plans for getting through your surgery and find a way to work and still have the time for your recovery.

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