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3 month post op ACDF C5-6

sunny1966ssunny1966 VIRGINIAPosts: 1,385
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:49 AM in Recovering from Surgery
Saw my NS Friday. I told them about the pain in my neck that feels like it's the carotid artery and in my chest that radiates through my back that feels like a spasm or pulled muscle. I have to move very carefully or it stabs me. I also still have the lump feeling in my throat that's worse in the evenings when I'm tired or when I do a lot of bending. He said that should get better in time and is caused by moving the esophagus and everything during surgery. He did ask again if I want to have the swallowing test but I said not if he thinks it'll get better. I did tell him that it would drive you crazy feeling like someone is choking you if you let it.

He said my x-rays look good and I asked if it is fusing. He said he saw bone growth and doesn't think I need more x-rays and I don't have to see him anymore. They didn't tell me anything about my neck or chest pain. Gave me no prescriptions or anything. I asked if they could give me a prednisone injection or something for the muscles but the nurse said they don't do any shots.

I asked him if he'd look at my lumbar mri and see if he could see any reason for my continuing chronic pain. His PA came back and told me he said he didn't see anything that surgery would help right now but if it continues to hurt to have another mri since that one was 18 months or so ago. I was just hoping he'd tell me a concrete reason for it.

I thought they would at least do another x-ray in 6 months or so to check for fusion. Is it normal that they don't do that?

I was glad he felt like I was healed enough to release me but disappointed to leave with the neck/chest pain and no help for it you know? I guess I just feel let down since I'm still having this other pain even though I'm grateful that my arm and hand pain is gone and feel like the surgery was a success as that is really all he thought it would do. It's just hard to feel good when you can't take a deep breath...ouch. Ah those wonderful muscles...

I hope you all are having a good day and are as well as you can be.



  • I understand how you feel, and I know what you're going through. It almost feels like they say, "well my job is done, be gone" and that may be the case, some how that never comforted me.

    If you are having any chest pain that feels abnormal (something new) then you should have it checked out without delay. If you feel like an elephant is sitting on your chest, shorness of breath, sweating, nausea, then do you and me a favor and go to the ER and get it checked right away. The worst that will happen is that all the tests will come back fine and they will give you something for pain and to help relax you. Then they may refer you to a heart doctor which is not a bad thing.

    I am not a doctor, just telling you my own experience with this stuff. Just be safe and err on the side of caution.

    If your MRI is 18 months old your doctor in mt opinion should have had a new one done. In Ohio the say if they are over a year old they want a new one because the change can be very significant in your spine.

    I feel so frustrated when I feel my doctor is not hearing what I'm saying or is not concerned with my concerns, or if they treat me like a hypochondriac. You know the pain is there, don't feel you can't seek out another surgeon for a second opinion. The cad part is the surgeon sends his notes to the pain doc and that may effect how the pain doc treats you. Be an advocate for yourself. You and your doc are suppose to be partners in your treatment plan, not just he says and that's it.

    I know this is hard, just try to stay calm and find other avenues if you are not satisfied with what his course of action is or isn't.

    Take care and you are in my prayers.


    AL S
  • Carotid arteries can get blockages and I don't know, but during the ACDF surgery it stresses everything they push aside, so just might want to have it all checked by a primary care doc or and ER if your sysmtoms get to severe.

    Take care of yourself and God Bless

    AL S
  • I'm shocked that your released as well. And what??? No 6 month check up on fusing. Weird! I go for my 2 month next tuesday. Hate to hear that your still having trouble with your artery and swallowing.

    Hi Al ffrom Cinncinnati...I'm watching the Saint's as I type!!!! GO Saints and LSU!!!
  • Saints went down as my pain goes up L)
    AL S
  • I too am a bit surprised he released you so soon. Mine when I had my C5/6 did a 6 week, 6 month and 12 month x-rays. My second fusion with him, 6 weeks, 6 (really 5th month), and then my C6 vertebra cracked, he basically dropped me!

    What *I* ended up doing Debbie, is I went back to my GP. I've also gotten back with my original Neurologist for my follow ups and status decisions. As to updated MRI's, each doctor is different. Mine, when they see 'significant' symptom changes, regardless of when the last was done, they've ordered new ones. Others (like my GP), if there are known issues, no more than a year apart. Hope that helps, and hope you feel better soon.

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • sunny1966ssunny1966 VIRGINIAPosts: 1,385
    I hope your 2 month goes well. How's your arm doing?

    I guess I just think I would feel better if I had another x-ray in 3-6 months so I'd know everything is fused properly. I guess it doesn't really matter as long as no problems arise.

    I don't know if the pain I have now has anything to do with my surgery. I guess it won't kill me or it would have done it already. Maybe I'm just being wimpy.

    My son was fussing at me yesterday and asking why I won't just go to the doctor. I always keep saying it'll get better. I just got so tired of going to my PCP every two to four weeks for about a year and having him make me feel like I'm crazy instead of helping me. I had to go to an urgent care doctor to get referred to the surgeon who did my surgery! Long story short, I no longer have any faith in my PCP. I know there are lots of them to choose from but I'm just afraid I'll end up with another one like I have so I keep putting it off. Ah well, long story.

  • sunny1966ssunny1966 VIRGINIAPosts: 1,385
    How are you doing? I'm sorry I haven't checked on you lately. I know I've been selfish and spending to much time dwelling on my own self.

    Thanks for your concern Al. I too have wondered about the blockages and stuff especially as my dad and his family all had atherosclerosis. Plus I'm a smoker so there you go. I'm pretty sure that it's muscular though so hopefully it'll ease up soon.

    I hope to chat with you more soon Al and make up for some lost time. I've been reading your posts and I've prayed for you and think of you daily. I hope that you're doing much better today.

    Take care,
  • sunny1966ssunny1966 VIRGINIAPosts: 1,385
    That was real good of him to drop you wasn't it? Guess you must have done something wrong to cause it to crack and he didn't want to fix it? lol. Sorry, sarcasm here.

    I'm going to have to find a doctor who will help me with my pain soon. Like I said above, I have no faith in my PCP, my PM doctors do mostly injections and he told me they won't help me. So it's either suck it up and deal with it or find someone else. Maybe I ask for to much to be able to go through my days with less pain? Maybe I should be able to deal with it better? There are many people worse off than I am so why do I grumble? I get so mad at myself but it doesn't help.

    Sorry Brenda. I feel another of those moods coming on here. I need to get out of the house and go for a long walk. Only problem is that it's -4 degrees. Course, I bet it'd liven me up don't you?

  • sunny1966ssunny1966 VIRGINIAPosts: 1,385
    I just wanted to say that I'm not complaining about my care from this surgeon. I really appreciate everything he has done for me. This surgery relieved my arm/hand pain and tingling for which I'm very grateful. He is a wonderful surgeon as far as I know. I know that if I have any problems concerning the fusion I could probably call him and see him again. He has so many patients that's it's unrealistic to expect him to spend much time with me and I know he has other patients who need his time much more than I do. I just assumed he'd want another x-ray to see if I fuse. Just like having no restrictions post op I guess they have a three month release policy or something.

  • Good that you're fusing but I would see your Primary Dr. if you're having chest pain but go to the ER if it's bad. Your Primary could do blood tests to check your thyroid and perhaps a carotid doppler not saying he will but he should run tests with chest pain or a thorough assessment. It is unusual that he wouldn't follow you up a year after with x-rays I think I would call back and ask that to make sure you get fused.

    I hope the pain eases up for you. Are you still seeing your PM Dr. for pain medications? Take care. Char
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • Aviatrix36440 said:
    ......... and then my C6 vertebra cracked, he basically dropped me!

    I think it was very careless of your surgeon to drop you and cause your C6 to crack!!! :))(
    I hope he said sorry!

  • sunny1966ssunny1966 VIRGINIAPosts: 1,385
    I just replied to one of your posts. Hope you're having a good day.

    I'll be honest with you, I was kind of scared the first day my neck/artery area hurt so much. Then when this chest pain started I thought hmmm, you know? But now since it's been hurting like this for so long, my neck about 2 weeks, and my chest about a week I figure if it was heart related it would probably have killed me by now. Not funny I know but I try to look at the bright side. :| I just hate having to go have any tests done or anything since it's after the first of the year and our deductible needs to be met again. I feel like my husband gets tired of all my doctor bills...he hasn't said that but that's the way I feel. I also hate to complain about anything else especially after he gave me such a hard time before I had this surgery...I try to act like I'm doing great whether or not when he gets home.

    I'm not seeing my PM anymore. I haven't seen them since before surgery. They would only give me Tramadol for pain (besides the ESI's) and it doesn't help much at all. I am taking it now (just what I had left from before) because it's all I have. I also still have some flexeril that I've been taking. I only have four more of those and then nothing! Well, I do have a bottle of meloxicam that I'm thinking of trying again but don't know if I should since it's an NSAID. My NS's PA said it's ok to take NSAID's but I'm afraid of messing up the fusing.

    Thanks for your concern Charry. I really appreciate all the help you give me and others. I've been spending to much time worrying about myself lately and am trying to make up for neglecting others on the forums. I'd much rather be here for supporting others in some small way and I feel bad because I haven't been.

    I hope you're having a good day. Sorry to hear about your problems lately. Hope everything looks up soon.

  • How old...I mean how young are you?

    Thanks for asking about my arm, same ole same ole. Slowly gaining strength except for one part of my tricep that is controlled by c5/6. My nerves are firing...so thats good.

  • I think it is good DR told you you have bone growth but still concerning that he did not want to check that at te 6 months time-frame .. I am similar to the others where my NS has scheduled X-rays and follow up visits at 3 months, 6 months and 12 months and also advised me if I feel anything has changed to call them and come in right away - I think that is what they should do..
    I also had a really weird sounds not major issue at my IV site -- maybe others had it too. I have only had 4 surgeries in my life - Hand Bone Spur removal, C-Section Twins, Gall Bladder removal and this ACDF surgery - they always put the IV in the top of my hand.
    Well for this ACDF surgery they put the IV in on the side under my thumb almost on my wrist - hurt like hell going in and the entire time it was in. Well over the last few weeks a lump has formed in my vein that hurts most of the time. Funny asked my NS and she had no idea and told me to see my primary. First I thought I was getting pushed off but I did go and see Primary who said they must have gone thru the artery and now ruined the vein and that it is a blood clot. It is not a serious one as it is in my arm and will eventually fizzle out and the vein will be useless.
    My point here is that we are all our own advocates for ourselves sometimes these DR's do have lots of patients and not enough time but that does not mean that we don't deserve the care we need to get and remain healthy. Don't mean to preach here .. My advice is to push the DR's until you feel like they are doing something. If you are stressed over your recovery not going well I think that could impede your recovery!
    Sorry to be sooo opinionated today - had company and now really tired..
    I hope all is well with everyone and healing continues for all!!
    And never settle if it concerns you!!!

  • Debbie - to Charry's point - you might need your Thyroid checked - forgot to mention during all of my testing with MRI's, Primary and NS - they found I had nodules on my thyroid and had to run additional tests prior to suregery to be sure it was OK before opening up my neck .. turned out OK and have to have it checked yearly but maybe there could be something there - Thyroiditis does cause throat pain and issues and maybe the surgery did something to spark it up .. Dont want to add to your stress - if it is that I think there is just meds they could give you. Also I know nerve pain shoots down - my root nerve was compressed in my shoulder prior to surgery and my pain went straight down my front of my chest so still could all my surgery related. My NS gave me Valium as muscle relaxers did nothing for me and has worked so much better ... just offering things to think about - I really hope you are doing OK and some of your stress over non-health things eases up some.

  • sunny1966ssunny1966 VIRGINIAPosts: 1,385
    Glad you're gaining strength. That was one of my concerns prior to surgery. I had lost the muscle in my left arm. I think it's improving now, at least it hasn't got worse.

    I'm 44 yrs young. No I don't mind you asking at all. I'm not sensitive about my age...I've earned every one of these gray hairs and wrinkles. lol. That's not to say I don't cover those grays on a regular basis. hehe.

    Went for a three hour walk today so I feel better in some ways but not in others. I've still got this darn muscle pain and my back/butt/thigh ache but at least I got some fresh air...COLD fresh air. I had on so many clothes I could hardly move but it did feel good. Where I live a walk means up and down hills and through the woods. Ah but it feels good to get outside even in the snow. I told my son that we need a sleigh and he said I'd kill myself. I said only when trying to get on and off! lol.

    Hope you've had a good day.
  • sunny1966ssunny1966 VIRGINIAPosts: 1,385
    I hope you haven't been overdoing things today. Even if you haven't I know how tiresome having company can be. Seems like it doesn't take much to wear you out after surgery anyway.

    Thanks for all of your advice and suggestions. I've wondered about my thyroid also. Especially since all those darn hot flashes I had post op. They've really lessened now thankfully. I really intend to find a new PCP and check this stuff out. I need to make myself do it.

    I had a post here somewhere about problems my IV caused me too. It was in the top of my hand but did the same as yours did. It hurt for a long time and then the pain and soreness finally just went away...lump is still there though. It really did hurt and burn though. Hope yours gets better soon.

    Hope you get some rest.
  • Mary....did your ecig show up in the mail.? I'm smoking mine whilst having a bit of vino....vino being my vice of course. Sunny, google power-surge

    I've had some really weird @$$ symptoms....things that felt like I was close to death. I went as far as having a cardiologist do a stress test. Normal and good of course. I think that all the changes in my hormonal balance is well....imbalanced. I'm not one to do HRT and will go natural on the menopause stuff. I had acid reflux for 2 solid months...miserable, couldn't sleep/breath at night. My aches, they ache more. I have stray eyebrows all over my chin, I have a period every 15 days it seems. I have internal shaking in my brain that has reared its head with avengence the last couple weeks. Now i'm delaing with dizzyness/vertigo. I guess what I'm saying is that everything is magnified times 10 with whatever ill's me. The power surge website has been a Godsend.

    It's snowy and icy in my neck of the woods in the south. doubt I'll be able to even get to either appt next week due to icy roads. i'll have to reshcedule...will let ya know what's the prognosis is! be well sunny!
  • Oh woman, you are soooo mean! (EG) :''( =))

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

    Yeah, I think -4 sounds like wonderful Spring walking weather to me!... NOT! (G)

    He wasn't concerned about it at all. He said it would "resolve itself" over time. Hummm... It's been over a year, and? That's why I went back to square one.

    As for 'sucking it up' or 'dealing with it better', don't go there! We are all different, and we know what we are willing to deal with. It's all part of being our own advocate anymore. *HUGZ* If in doubt, check it out woman - NOTHING wrong in doing that. My GP handles my scripts. Her assistant asked me if I was interested in going to pain management, and I flatly but politely said "no thanks!" Now if further surgery wasn't on the radar, I would/will consider that route, but not now for me.

    Listen to your body, and you will know what to do, but please don't think you have to "suck it up, or deal with it", because you don't! Okay? *HUGZ*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I am so sorry you are going thru so much.. you have been such a help to me! I have had vertigo all of my life so understand it - there is medicine for it called Meclozine (spelling?) but knocks you out - you could try the non-drowsy dramamine - does help. Reflux sucks - I never had it but my husband does and if eats late - always throws up in middle of night - he takes Nexium and seems to help as long as he watches how late he eats...
    I don'thave any advice on the hormone thing but am here if you want/need someone to listen... hope the roads aren't too bad and you can get to your appts! We have had snow here in norhteast but I live in snow area so roads are usually good.
    I did not get my ecigs yet and sad to say have still been taking my few drags per day on a few cigs - never a full one and no more than 3-4 times per day - getting harder - hoping they show up today. Been eating so much calcium killing my stomach - milk, yogurt, ice cream, calcium chews - just to keep that bone growth going. Starting PT today - looking forward to it but nervous as I know I will probably be in more pain for awhile as my body gets used to moving again!!
    Take care and please keep me posted on how you are doing!
  • I did not overdue it - 1st time company really and did not cook just sandwiches and snacks .. amazing how tired you get so fast - by 7pm could not keep my eyes open and then the Eagles lost- horrible!
    I am so glad someone else had the IV issue - my primary said the vein will now be done and it is a blood clot but not like the kind you get in leg that are serious.. thank God!
    Thyroid thing - yeah my original MRI showed something and had to have an ultra-sound and blood test before the surgery - Ultra-sound showed nodules all over my thyroid but non-cancerous and blood test showed thyroid was working so all OK but have to have it checked yearly because of all that. During it they asked me if I had sore throats and trouble swallowing so that is why I suggested to you - tests were no big deal.
    On the Dr thing I hope you find what that will help you fully. I am the type of person that if I do not click with a DR I find another ... hope you are doing OK today .. starting PT in an hour ...

  • Hasn't made a difference for the off balance and dizzy/heavy headedness I've been enduring. I haven't had heartburn since last spring...It went away as quickly as it started.

    Sorry your blu hasnt arrived, I bet it shows up today!
    We got about 6 inches of snow. I know that is baby fluff for some of you northerners...but nobody knows how to drive on Ice and snow. There is a thick layer of ice under the snow. My H took my car into work, so I'm going to call the Imaging place and reschedule for after 2pm. I think i'll be okay for Neuro appt tomorrow.
  • sunny1966ssunny1966 VIRGINIAPosts: 1,385
    I hope you're both ok today. I appreciate both of you and everyone for helping me.

    Today I'm in a lot of pain--in a lot of places. I'm about afraid to admit what I did yesterday that is making my pain worse though. I went sledding with my hubby, son and nephew. There I said it. I know--I know. I watched them for a while, sitting there thinking why can't I do that? Why can't I have fun? Well, I did it and yep, I had a blast. Didn't break anything and was as careful as one can be going backwards, sideways, and ending up face down in the snow a few times. hehehe. You'd think my 'kink' in my chest would be better today wouldn't you? Talk about sore but I know tomorrow will be even worse. Was it worth it? YES! It brought back so many memories of when those kids were small (they're 19 & 20 now) and we'd play in the snow. I kept thinking that they'll remember yesterday years after I'm gone...believe me they will because they had a blast laughing at me and my hubby. So although I may moan and groan more for a few days, what the heck? I hurt anyway and I HAD FUN! You just wouldn't believe how much it meant to me.

  • Hey Debbie - good for you - you deserve to have fun and yeah you will probably or are paying for it but sounded like a blast. Funny that you posted that because I was just telling my PT person that I am the type of Mom who wants and will play with my kids. They are 4 and I will not get this time back. Now I have not really done anything over the past few weeks to play with them other than little puzzles or board games etc... But we booked a 2 week beach vacation and in June and I will be building sand castles and jumping on ocean with my kids - wish it was tomorrow! My husband was funny because I was out of work unpaid for 8 weeks and concerned if we should book a big vacation and I just said WE NEED IT! LOL ... Have fun sledding - we are supposed to get alot of snow tonight into tomorrow .. no sledding for me though .. not yet maybe in a month!

  • Thank goodness we don't have hills with snow in my neck of the woods. I have however been playing pool with my H, I started playing when I was told by doc that I can resume normal activity. Needless to say, if I play to long, I feel it the next day. But I think it's probably good for me to stretch and also to strengthen my neck muscles. I guess i'll find out what my limits are this summer when I know I'm going to want to waterski.

    My Dr appt was reschedule for next week because of the winter storm we had....so no news. I'm heading down to South Louisiana today to visit my mom. It's a long 6 hours, but i'll stop along the way. I'll hopefully have an opportunity to check in. Painfree.....How ya feeling Girly? Sunny, nurse those sore muscles from sledding! Ya'll behave!
  • How am I feeling? Good question and hard to answer because my initial response is great. Hard for me to even complain about the recovery pain I have because I was in such severe pain before surgery this seems like nothing. I am the type of person who just goes and goes so I really have to let myself heal and recover. I still have pain in back of neck shoulders and sometimes right arm all of the time - by the mid afternoon I need the acetametaphin and muscle relaxers.. DR have said 5 weeks post surgery still ok to rest and take pain meds if necessary and I refuse because none of this compares to how bad it was before surgery and I could have ended up in a wheelchair. I hate how pain meds make me feel- stomach wise and get sooo itchy ... The PT is going well and they are starting slow just lite weights to rebuild arm strength and massage neck area. The weights are like 2 lbs and feel like 20 - hilarious! They said my ROM turning left to right is about 30 - 35 and should be 70 .. I can turn all the way but then pain shoots down neck shoulder and arm .. so they measure how far I can go without pain. I have the biggest problem putting my head back like to wash my hair in the shower - that I think is where I may have lost some ROM .. or just me being precautious not sure yet!
    Anyway as I just rambled on and on - thanks for asking! How are you doing! I am hoping you are OK today!
    PS - got the ecigs - my biggest complaint is how heavy they feel to hold but they are OK - I like the Java Jolt the best .. do not like the vanilla at all. Have not tried the menthol as I never like menthol cigs so not sure .. anyway will keep you posted on them .. And do you know how long the charge lasts on the pack and on the 2 cigs - having a hard time figuring that out ..

  • I love the vanilla and blech to the Java Jolt. I was on the website today and was going to order 25 vanilla's....but wait.....the inferno/volcano ecig is the same product as the blu. The inferno has more choices in cartridge flavors....I'm going to get the pineapple blast! Google volcano ecig and you'll find the link. I just made a 5 hours drive to Red Stick to see my mom. Turned her onto the blu and she's digging it. The pack last me a good 5 days and a charge on the battery will get me 3 to 4 days...but I really only use it when I'm having my vino. You'll notice that if you are hitting too often, that you'll not get the vapor. Thats my only complaint about blu. I have to fiddle with it...or put one up for a bit and use the other.

    I have no Idea what my ROM is, the PT dude is mainly working on my gimp arm. Hey Sunny? What's your ROM? Sheeeat, mine is probably 30 maybe 45 but my Doc said that the range will come back on it's on. Wierd how they all have different approaches. I'm sleeping on my stomach Sunny! And PainFree...Lawd you got your hands full with your twinkies! I read that this a.m! Okay....Over and out for now. Bye Chickadees!
  • Are you kidding sounds disgusting?? Ha - let me know how they are and if they work better than blu .. I need the vapor for my mind to think that I am having a cig but so hate how heavy they are ..
    Sleeping on your stomach - that is the worst thing for your back - are you OK? Funny for me my neck is most comfortable laying on my back on my cervical pillow I got but I hate sleeping on my back - I am a true side sleeper since my pregnancy (was 100 lbs heavier with the twins) .. so I sleep on my back and in middle of the night my hubby is waking me because I then have both arms above my head which is the worst for your neck. My PT guy asked me if I put my arms over my head when I sleep and of course I said well not initially but always go there - what do I do tie my arms to my sides .. Hello! Talk to ya soon!

  • about you ;) I'm kidding.

    PFree, no....once you get that nicotine out of your system, it will be all about the hand to mouth...and the cool flavors. I'm not buying a new device, just the cartridges...unless I get really whizbang and start making my own juice from vegetable glycerin and flavorings....some of the folks on that ecig forum are obsessed and make their own concoctions. KInda interesting I guess. Anyhoo....vape on girl. Enjoy your new toy...it's quite the novelty. I enjoy turning people who smoke onto it and welcome questions from people who say "what the He!! is that". 90% of people in the little town where I live smoke....I think its one of the only areas in the U.S where they still ask you "smoking or non". We were blown away when we moved here from Atlanta to hear those words a few years ago...now onto converting my Sister and Brother while i'm in their neck of the woods..."evil laugh ha ha ha haaaaaaaaaa"

    Oh forgot, I've never slept on my back EVER and the last 2.5 months has been brutal...I know it's the best position to sleep and I still try to sleep on my back, but aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh to sleep on my side and stomach for 15 minutes is like Buttah! Pool, playing pool has helped with my ROM (random thought slid in)duh!
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