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!