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First post-surgery update -- ACDF

S for StacySS for Stacy Posts: 35
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:52 AM in Recovering from Surgery
Had an Anterior Cervical Diskectomy and Fusion at C4-7 last Tuesday, April 12.

I am happy to report that I survived, despite the steroids they gave me in the hospital making me throw up and go into atrial fibrillation the day after the surgery. I can't do steroids without issues (obviously!), so I am beyond thrilled to now be off ALL the steroids and on my way to recovering my brain! Norco and steroids -- yeah, what a trip. (Anyone else hallucinate about Legos or Obama?)

Pain levels are nice and low (in fact, right now any pain I have seems to be surgically related, or just muscle spasms from wearing the darned collar). Hoping that means the surgery worked.

I'm having a dickens of a time getting comfortable enough to sleep at night -- bed is just out, can't do it. Propping on the sofa with about 1000 pillows, but then I get stiff.

And I'm having a few swallowing problems -- I guess that's to be expected this early in the game. I can do soft stuff no problem, but soft-ish stuff like meatballs, meatloaf, cheese are a bit tough to get down, and bacon met with no success at all. Think I'll go back to yogurt, pudding, and soggy cereal for awhile.

And the collar (a VistaTX with thoracic extension) is going to make me insane. I wore a Milwaukee brace during much of my adolescence and don't remember it being this annoying (I'm sure it was worse, I just don't remember it). Maybe I'm just older, crankier and less adaptable. SO thankful this is much more temporary, but still don't know how many months we're looking at.

So ... overall I feel very good about the surgery and am definitely happy to be more myself. Just going to be an adjustment comfort-wise in a million little ways.


  • Hi Stacy :wave:

    WONDERFUL!!!!!! I am happy your doing well :)

    I am of no help to you - sorrt. I am a lower spine victime lol ;)

    Please keep us updated
    L1 - S2 "gone" useless in 1 way or another. DDD. RA. Bone Spurs. Tons of nerve damage/issues. Stenosis. Both knees replaced. 50 yrs old. I had a great fall (hence my user name) at age 41 and it has been a domino effect every since.
  • That's great news. If I remember correctly, I was a lot like you are now after my surgery. But yeah, that danged brace. Do you have a recliner? That's the only way I found I could get comfortable. How long do you have to wear it, do you know? Will you then be in a soft brace?

    I'm glad you can swallow, even if it's only soft things at this point. It should improve with time, but might be scratchy for a while. It took me a few months before I even felt comfortable humming a tune in the car.

    Continue to take care of yourself and congratulations on being on the other side. I'm really sorry to hear about the steroid problem, but at least you were in good hands - thank goodness.

  • Stacy: Glad you are doing so well. Just remember to take it easy. I only had a hard collar for a few days before the soft one. I slept in the recliner for weeks. Couldn't get comfy in the bed either. Food was an issue for me for a long time. The bendy straws were my best friend. I ate soupy oatmeal, soup, applesauce, yogurt, mashed potatoes, ice cream, jello, pudding and similar food for a long time. Lost all the weight that I needed to lose. Since I added all foods except bread products, I gained most of it back. Oh well.
    Keep healing, take pain meds on time (don't procrastinate) rest and take it easy your body has been through alot. :)
    12/9/2010 ACDF C5-6 C6-7 with plate, screws,
    BMP & bone fragment filled cages
    2/14/2011 trying to go back to work as a teacher
    2/17/2011 starting PT
    wearing bone stimulator 4 hours a day
    DDD, arthritis, herniated disks, pinched nerves
    3 months saw a little bit of bone growth (YEAH)
    4/15/2011 Home Tens Unit
  • Well, now I'm starting in with some new pain -- I'm thinking it's just from my muscles trying to get used to this collar and being so rigid all the time. But I have some pain going on from just under my left ear all the way down my left arm. It's not like the old nerve pain, I'm more actually worried about infection in the incision, but it's cool to the touch and not particularly red.

    Left anterior is where the incision is. Left is also the side where I had the most chronic pain before the surgery.

    Anyway, is it normal to have just kinda vague pain?
    (Also had a bout with atrial fibrillations yesterday afternoon that made me miss our Good Friday service, grrrrr.)
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