I see so many posters out here wondering whether they should go through surgery, are scared of surgery, wondering if they do have sugery how long things will take, and varying combinations thereof.
I wanted to share my updated experience and current condition. I had two severly herniated discs that was causing severe arm pain. I endured a nerve decompression (triple foraminotomy) two years ago and apprently it didn't "take." My doc decided to once and for all deal with this by doing a multi-level fusion by inserting a titanium bracket he designed himself that's used nationally by other spine surgeons.
Surgery was 3/30. Not too painful, just needed some water ice and one night in hospital. Wore a soft neck brace for 9 days post-op. At my 2-month it was borderline fully fused. I began to work out and hired a physical therapist to return me to lifing again. I'm almost 48. I'm relatively athletic as I officiate college football at the D-II level and was recently promoted to D-I as a "reserve."
I had my 4-month checkup and 100% fused. I do have some aches and pains from time to time but I guess that's to be expected. I rode on the log flume a couple of weeks ago, ride my new wave runner (although don't go crazy) and like I said I have some achiness but definitely not to the point where it's unbearable. I sometimes get a bit of tingling but it's rare. It's actually sleeping on a pillow the wrong way may wake me but for all intents and purposes I feel pretty good and was given the "green light" to return to the football field for the 2011 season. Next steps - finish my "return to wellness program" with my therapist and begin working out full time at my gym. Doc wants to see on my 1-year anniversary of the surgery.
I was hoping for absolutely zero achiness but that arm pain is no picnic. In fact I couldn't wait to get on the operating table. NOTHING to be scared of! I hope this helps those of you who are considering surgery. If I had to do it all over again I would have never got the nerve decompression and went straight to having the fusion.