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3 weeks post-op update

S for StacySS for Stacy Posts: 35
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:52 AM in Recovering from Surgery
Had my first post-op appointment today, and am happy to announce that things seem to be looking good! The surgeon even walked into the room with a big smile on his face (after having just seen the x-rays) and said it looked great.

I was impressed with the x-rays -- my neck, which was in a state of kyphosis before, slightly forward of straight, now has a lovely, normal "C" shape to it! It was also nice to see that the "metal plate" was actually more of a lattice/ladder looking thing than a solid rectangle.

He answered the questions I'd been having about pain (I was concerned because I'm still having the same kind I had before the surgery) -- he said, "Oh, yes, that's absolutely normal. You're still very, very early in the post-op phase." I asked him about the swallowing issues, and he said that was normal, too, and will get better with time. He even said I could DRIVE now, although I can't see how on earth that would be possible!

The PA cranked up the chin rest on my brace ("It's a neck BRACE, not a necklace!") and the doc tightened it, so I'm having some issues adjusting to that (new pain, and my shoulders are very tired and achy). I have to crank it back down and loosen it to eat. The doc did say I can take the brace off for the fifteen minutes or so at my son's high school graduation where we will be on stage with him (small private school, only 11 seniors this year, so the parents are very much a part of the program), so I was thankful for that.

I asked about supplements (I was worried about taking Flaxseed Oil since it's supposedly anti-inflammatory), and they basically said I can take anything except ibuprofen and, I think, aspirin.

And I will be in the brace from 3 to 6 months, depending on how I heal. Praying desperately that I heal well and can get this wretched thing off in 3!!

So, overall I was not only pleased with how good things are looking, but also that the surgeon was attentive to my questions. I feel much better about a lot of things now.

I go back in mid-July for my 3-month post-op. Really, really hope I can lose the brace then!


  • Stacy, that is such great news! I had a posterior C1/C2 fusion on April 6th and am feeling the same way...not sure about my progress. I have been having a horrible muscle spasm in the late afternoon every day for the past 4 days on the right side of my neck. I wonder if this is 'normal'. I've read it is, but would just like some reassurance. I can't wait for my 6 week post op appointment on May 18th! (well, except that it is a 5 hour drive!)
    Keep us posted!
    April 2011 C1-C2 Fusion (Brooks wiring)
    January 2012 C1-C2 Revision Fusion (Harms Technique)
    2010 - current: Trigger Point Injections, Epidural Injections, Bilateral C2-C3 Radiofrequency Ablations
  • So glad to hear your post op check went well. I know that was a big weight off of your shoulders for sure!! Congrats!!

    As a side note, I've been reading your blog. I think between that and what you've posted here, you will do GREAT!!! Tell Phil hi!

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Thanks, y'all!

    Brenda, thanks for reading my fictional blog! It's been a lot of fun to write. I had to reassure some of my friends in the beginning that it wasn't actually about me, that it was just a fictional story ... I guess I hadn't made that too clear to them. Anyway, one of these days I'll probably try to convert it into a book, but for now I'm happy just blogging away from somebody else's head! lol
  • Stacy,

    I can understand your friends probably going "Yeah right, that is about your life! Let me see your arms!" (G) It is written well enough that initially one can assume it *is* based on fact vs fiction. You're a very good writer.

    I know the first 4 or 5 entries with Caddies "almost success" at ending it thanks to her dad, had me in tears! Very well written! As to converting it into a book, sure why not? I think depending on the title, it will sell. Then like many, Caddie and Phil can go on to other activities and adventures for the readers to connect with. :)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Wow, Brenda, thank you for the high compliment and the encouragement!! Sometimes I get pretty discouraged because I don't have a high readership, but I guess a lot of people nowadays don't want to have to read anything over 500 words or so, lol.

    You've made my day!! :)
  • Stacy,

    You're very Welcome!! Lets just say, I could relate in a lot of ways, and saw the style and way of writing very 'believable' if you will. Because of "things" growing up, I planned on ending things as a teen, but a fellow teen friend knew something was wrong, walked me home from school (the very day I was going to do it), and after a long talk realized that ending it is this: A permanent solution to a resolvable problem. Others describe it as a permanent solution to a temporary problem!!

    My friend who was 12 or 13 said this to me, and it has stuck to this day. "No one can do things to you to cause you to give you the death penalty!!" And this from a young teen! How powerful is that?

    As for readership. There is so much on the net, I am sure the competition is high to get folks to sit, commit and read anymore! You have skills, go with them!!! :)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Brenda, I'm so grateful for your friend having the courage to confront you lovingly and help you through that dark moment to get you through safely to the other side of it! I've never actually gotten to the point of attempting suicide, but there've been lots of times, either because of physical pain or emotional pain that I've thought about it. I really do hope someday someone will read this story who is having serious suicidal thoughts and will change their minds because of something they read.

    The fun part about writing in blog style is that I can hop back and forth between current and past, and I don't even have to go in chronological order. So while I start with Caddie's suicide attempt, it's not long before I jump into how she and Phil met, and eventually their love story, along with a lot of other fun and not-so-fun events in her life, just whenever they work out best to post. If I turn it into a book, I may keep the blog format just so I don't have to re-work the order. (I'm so lazy! lol)

    Anyway, as I've said before, I do so much appreciate your encouragement. It helps tremendously!

  • Stacy,

    I think it is absolutely normal for all of us to at one time or another visit or "think" about ending it all. I say that because we've all had those dark days - family member dying, losing a job, over our heads in bills etc. But it is a whole other matter to decide to act on those thoughts.

    Odd as this is going to sound, I am kind of glad that I got to where I did as a young teen. Why? I guess in a nutshell, I know what to look out for, and make sure I don't go there again. You have the 'cutters' - those that test the waters, but never intend to jump in, and then you've got the f-it and off the cliff we go types. The cutters want attention, the later - they are so done!

    Caddie was a case of "spur of the moment" without thought case. To me, she was only intending to hurt her father through hurting herself, but not intending to end anything in so far as her life. Her emotions being so deep and so raw, cut a wee deeper than she intended - at least that's my read on what you wrote. :)

    I've read several books that go present, future and past. Makes for interesting reading. Hell, (Lol!) just bundle up what you have, and bingo, book done! I am in the middle of Caddie met Phil. Not bad so far. The attitude of the father - doesn't surprise me. "Caddie, clean up your crap (your crayons and such), you know I hate when you leave your junk on the table..." Perfect.

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Brenda, again, I really appreciate your encouragement on the writing! Since it's my main "distraction" right now, it's great to get that support!

    All: So it's been four weeks now. In some ways I think I'm really doing better. We got me a new recliner (not the greatest, as it was "seconds" in a consignment store, but still better than our stationary chairs!), and that seems to have helped with some of the "old familiar" pain I was having. I noticed I still get that kind of pain if I sit too long in one of our other armchairs or the sofa ...

    Still having a lot of trouble getting to sleep, even in the recliner. Once I'm out I'm usually good for 6-7 hours (not always), but I wouldn't call it the greatest sleep in the world.

    I am SOOOOOO looking forward to getting out of this brace (whenever that is). I know, that's super whiny, but it's seriously driving me crazy. I must have poor self-esteem, because I feel very self-conscious whenever I go out in public. I'm cool with people doing secretive double-takes or trying to stare without me noticing, I'm fine with people openly looking and even asking. But I still feel like a freak.

    And I will be REALLY HAPPY when I can sing without feeling like there's a giant lump in my throat. And really massively depressed if that doesn't ever go away.

    SO, that's my update one week later. Ups and downs, but I know it could be so much worse, so I'm grateful for the progress I have made!
  • Stacy,

    Seconds or not, congrats on the recliner. Might even be better as it is broken in already for ya!!

    As for people and your brace. I felt that way at first when I started using a cane. I no longer care what people think, or if they stare. I don't know these people, therefore their opinions mean nothing in my life and my day to day living.

    Now on the fun side? Bling that sucker up with crystals and beads and such! That'll get the tongues wagging! (G)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • LOL -- my husband said he could string some LED lights around the opening in the front. Then we got really crazy and said we should put a mini-flatscreen TV in there, with a camera in back so you could "look through" my neck! I was thinking more along the lines of playing my favorite music videos or even movies ...

  • Stacy,

    That's funny! In the movie "House Bunny?" the key actress (a Playboy Bunny) becomes a House Mother in a fraternity. There was a girl in the frat house that wore a full back brace, and she had that sucker blinged out to the hill!

    I thought that was pretty cool actually! Later in the movie she had one of those miraculous "Forest Gump" (remember him losing the leg braces?) healing moments, and shed the brace! (G)

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

    You think the hard brace is difficult, wait until you get a soft one.

    With the hard brace, at least people open doors for you, help you when you drop things, etc., but I found when I was changed to a soft brace, the looks I got were much more like, "Who's she suing?"

    Each will give you totally different reactions from the public. Human nature...At least I dressed my soft brace up with colored socks with the toes cut out so they'd match my outfit. It was the only fun I had with it.

    Have fun! Glad to hear you're doing better.
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