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Still a wreck

M1ichele35MM1ichele35 Posts: 12
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:48 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Thanks to the 3 that answered my Dec. 16 surgery. I am still a nervous wreck over the whole thing, but you 3 did help ease my mind about the smoking. I am the worlds biggest baby when it comes to hospitals, doctors, and needles. My daughter has spent the last week trying to keep me informed on everything to do with the surgery. My mind goes numb about 3 minutes into her talking. My mother keeps telling me everything my brother who also had the exact same operation went thru 7 years ago. (not making me feel any better) I keep reading the positive story's in the forum. Thanks to many of you I will be buying a brand new blender before going in. As the old blender will most likely expire after several smoothies. Still a little worried about sleeping though. I don't have a recliner. So it looks like the boyfriend will have to move to the edge of the bed. Give me, and my pillows some room. One other thing I would like to know. Does everyone have to wear a hard collar? or a soft collar? If so how long do you have to wear it? The paper work from my doctor is unclear on that. Thank you again for your help. :)


  • Welcome to Spine-Health. I'm glad that some members made you feel better in your other post.

    I very much understand how scary it is to be facing cervical surgery. Before I had mine, I was very healthy and had never even been in a hospital before, other than to visit friends and family. But now I need surgery? Wow, that hits hard.

    I had to wear a hard collar for a month then a soft collar for two months after that. But there are many surgeons out there that don't believe in collars at all, especially if you're having just one or two levels done. I'd specifically ask your doctor if you'll be wearing one.

    The hard collar isn't too bad, you get used to it, and for me, I felt comfortable knowing that my cervical spine was protected and had the constant reminder not to bend my move my head. I didn't care for the soft collar, but it was a necessity.

    I also wanted to tell you that my surgeon understood how freaked out I was before both of my surgeries and prescribed Xanax for me to help me stay calmer in the weeks leading up to surgery. So you might ask your surgeon for something if you're really nervous and unable to concentrate or function properly.

    As for sleeping without a recliner, consider getting a wedge pillow for your bed. That will help you with not laying completely flat which is difficult for some of us after an ACDF.

    Take care of yourself and I wish you the best on your surgery. Feel free to PM me if you have any questions or just want to talk.

  • On your Neuro Surgeon as far as what he prescribes via neck brace and the duration of wearing one. Michele, if you havent read the "must haves" list of things you'll need before surgery...definitely take a lookyloo. I wish i'd found this site before my surgery. My neighbor who had double bypass surgery had one of those little grabber picker uppers and loaned it to me. Tis a Godsend. Your going to be fine! Good thoughts...good juju coming your way. Like you, I'm not a hospital, dr, needle girl either...but think of it like this: You go to the hospital and you're going to take a little nap..you wake up and your done! The hard part comes with getting home, taking it easy and doing all the right things to ensure you heal properly. Let the people who are with you HELP YOU. And don't apologize like I did...when you ask for: a straw, some water, some food, adjustment of pillows or a push on the back to sit up ...you get my drift.
  • How little I knew.........As of right now 5 days post op.I would never do again. Had no clue the level of pain I would be in. Did not have a clue how badly I would depend on oxycodone. I am not normally a pill taker.Relied heavly on Ibro. for years. Always stayed away from prescription drugs. My doctor is one who believes in no collar. I am so freaked out that I will move the wrong way. Once in awhile I sit up a hair to quick. Very bad idea. I know have more numbness in my right side. Part of my face, neck, arm, and thumb, and first finger. Before surgery I could remove some of the numbness in arm, and hand by looking down. Now it never ever goes away. writting is almost impossible. Havent seen the bathroom in 5 days. Today is a day to improve that situation. Plus I have had excema for years. I had a syst removed on the back of my neck. I had to wear a bandage for several days 2 years ago. Forgot how badly the tape made the excema. Now with a bandage on front my neck is painfull, and very itchy every moment of the day. I use ice to help keep it from itching. Spent three hours last night watching TV with ice pack. I know I sound whinny, but someone please tell me all this will get better.
  • Howdy Michele,

    Welcome to the other side! My NS had me in a hard collar after both of my surgeries with him, so not sure if I would have been more sore without it? Please keep in mind that a lot of the pain you're feeling now hopefully will start to back down soon.

    The loading, muscles, ligaments all have to adjust to the change. The dynamics too have forever changed. You might find the recovery to be "interesting" in what new pains you find as you heal. As to the numbness and such, some of that might be due to the trauma of the surgery, and the nerves are upset. That too should settle down in the coming weeks or months. Keep in mind, if something comes up that really bothers you, don't feel guilty about calling your surgeon. Please keep us posted. *HUGZ*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • 8} Hi Brenda, thanks for answering me. My mother, and daughter keep asking me every day how I feel. 200 miles away, and 30 miles away. So far I have not been able to say any improvement except my voice is not as horse. I keep having new pains showing up. Thats the part that has been freaking me out. (like maybe I did something wrong, or moved the wrong way)Thought I was going to miss the inbetween shoulder blades pain. Nope that is this morning. That, and the fact that I might have been working slightly I might add on a little double chin b4 surgery. Now? looks like I have a quadrupile chin. Guess you have to have a sense of humour, or go nut's. Thanks again. Shell
  • Congrats on being on the other side of surgery and on to recovery.

    Please keep in mind that you're very, very early out from major spine surgery and recovery is never a piece of cake, especially the first couple of weeks.

    You'll feel all sorts of things, like Brenda said, many of which you probably won't understand and will worry about. Never hesistate to call your surgeon and talk with them about what's happening.

    But really, you're only four days out, that's not very long. I remember that the first two days I felt really good and my hubby was kind of ticked at me. He even said "Can't you just ACT like you just had major surgery???" It must've been the anticeptic they put in the wound before closing because a couple of days later my hubby was happy to come to my feeling like I had been hit by a Mack truck. (I'm kidding about his being happy about it.)

    So, try to measure your recovery in weeks, not days, and you'll see a difference for the better as time goes by. But like I said, it's never a bad idea to call your surgeon and get confirmation that everything you're feeling is normal and get an explanation as to why you feel the way you do.

    Take care and hang in there. Adhere to your BLT and take your meds to stay ahead of the pain. If the pain gets ahead of you, it's very hard to get back under control. I know you hate meds, but I'd bet right now you'd hate not having them more.

    Feel free to PM me if you want to vent or if there's anything I can do for you at all.
  • There are a lot of pains after ACDF surgery that are normal like pain in the back of the neck and pain and spasms in the shoulders. At my appointment with my surgeon, he ran his fingers over all the parts of my neck and back that I might experience ongoing pain for a few months and he was right on.

    I hope you have muscle relaxants in addition to pain meds. Also, if the oxycodone's are making you sick or something, talk to the doc about alternatives.

    Lastly, you might want to try Peri-Colace for the bathroom issues - it was my life saver. Miralax is also very good and there are other extreme measures to take that you can find online if you get desperated.

    Anyway, just wanted to add those little tidbits and I hope you get to feeling better soon.

  • You're very Welcome! I've had 2 separate fusions, and even they weren't the same for the recovery! I didn't have too much pain between my shoulder blades for the C5/6, but I did with the addition of C6/7! There will be days you wake up and feel pretty good, other days you might feel (using Cathie's term) like you were hit with a Mac truck!

    In addition to resting and medications, I found that ice helped a lot. It helped reduce swelling, and as such, nice aid to "pain" breaks. It's good to hear that family is checking on you as well.

    If you have more questions, please feel free to ask away! The less worries you have, the better and faster you will heal. *HUGZ*

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

    I can appreciate what you are going thru...I will never forget my first surgery was my ACDF anterior cervical discectomy with bone implant fusion.

    Like your experienced, it was my first major surgery, first in hospital, I tried to prepare by learning as much as I could. But it was quite a rude awakening in the recovery room, the level of pain I was experiencing.

    I have had four other surgeries, knee, hip replacement, gall bladder surgery, nothing compared to the level of pain with the C-Spine surgery.

    My surgery was back in 1995, and just wanted to let you know each week got better (those initial days and first 3 wks were the worst for me), then I started seeing things level out stabilize with no surprises, muscle spasms leveled out too, I could walk more (my whole spine hurt post-op), sleep better. From that first month phase, everything got better, fusion successful, symptoms relieved.

    It was a slow process, I wore a soft collar because of no hardware and bone implant for 3-levels. First 7 weeks. Drove at 6-7 weeks.

    The reason for the surgery was bone spurs encroaching spinal cord, neuropathy whole left side of body episodic numbness month prior to surgery; a year of hand numbness. All was relieved. Surgery necessary for spinal cord impingement = permanent damage!

    Hope this helps to know we know how difficult it can be those immediate weeks post-op - - but I sure do hope you rest well, get tlc from loved ones around you, and you will see light in that tunnel and should be seeing much improvement in pain level the further along your recovery.

    Most of us don't know the intense pain post-op, some know more relief from pre-surgery pain, but all in all, I hope you heal well and can know your surgery was successful for your condition/symptoms.


    Stay on the forum and connect anytime here, we understand and happy to support you in any way we can!

    I see Cath and Brenda have already connected with you and given you good support and (((hugs)))which they are sooooo good at doing :)

  • I also had 2 level ACDF surgery on Dec 6th - had severe pain in right shoulder blades and right arm with weahness and numbness down to fingers due to spinal cord compression (DR said my spinal cord was dented in) - severe pain subsided with surgery but neck and shoulders -lots of different pain with the surgery. I am a little over 3 weeks and have good moments and some not so good moments. The hardest part for me is the smoking - I used to smoke 1/2 pack per day and I quit the morning of my surgery - have had about 3 drags on 3 different days since -mad at myself about that.. the stress of the surgery, wondering if it worked and I will be normal again has me going crazy. I have 2 small children so put on a good front for them especially since it is Christmas time! Only had to wear hard collar for 10days and have a Bone Stim that I have to wear for 10 hours per day! What does everyone think - if I have a few drags of a cig every now and then will that hurt my fusion? I know I shouldn't so don't want a lecture -but knowing I can sneak a cig every few days has taken the pressure off...scared though even just that small amount would hurt the fusion?? Any comments would be appreciated!! Mary
  • How did your surgery go on the 16th? Are you doing OK? Here for you if you need it! I am 1 month post surgery now and doing OK ... best wishes your way!

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