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2 level ACDF (C5-6-7) scheduled for Wednesday!

PH MomPPH Mom Posts: 80
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:58 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Thank you again to all whom have posted on this site. Your suggestions, encouragement, and input have been invaluable! I am 4 days away from surgery...nervous, but at peace. Monday & Tuesday will find me (with my husband's help) deep cleaning, washing the sheets/towels, and doing last minute shopping, preparing my pudding and jello. I feel so much more prepared than I ever would have without all the comments I have read here. I wouldn't have thought about button front tops, or known about the need for throat lozenges...so thanks for that!

Reading these posts have made me feel less scared about the post-op experience, and I am going into surgery with a positive outlook! I can't wait for the pain and numbness from my shoulder to my fingertips to be gone!

Thank you again - I'll update after surgery.




  • Jan,

    Good luck with surgery, sounds as though you are very prepared and have a positive out look on the surgery. Whatever doesn't get finished well it can wait till you have recovered. Good luck on surgery and post back as soon as you can to let us know how your doing.
  • I'm so glad that the members of SH have helped you feel comfortable with surgery and what you need post-op. I know it will go fine and we'll be here waiting for you when you have post-op questions or just want to talk. Recovery can get very boring after you start feeling better but still can't do anything but walk.

    Take care and don't overdo anything. I also got all my ducks in a row with regards to housework before surgery and it was nice to come home to a clean house, but like Tam said, whatever doesn't get done can wait.

    I look forward to reading your first post-op post and see how things went and how you're doing.

  • Best wishes Wednesday! You'll be in my thoughts and prayers. Please keep us posted on your recovery. Love 'n >:D< >:D< >:D<

  • I'll be thinking of you on Wednesday. Hoping for a successful surgery and that you will be telling how much better you feel very soon.

  • :))) Hi Jan. I had acdf c5-6 & c6-7 surgery Nov. 25th 2011. I had been terrified. God blessed me and I woke up in recovery with no pain. I still have no pain. My neurosurgeon did not have me wear any collar. I've done great. Before surgery I had terrible pain, and it showed on my face. Now, almost 3 weeks later, my face looks younger. It is wonderful to be pain free. I still have numbness in my fingers on my right hand. I hear that takes months to return to normal. After being under for 4.5 hrs. it taken awhile for my throat to get back to normal. At first it hurt to swallow. Can't complain about that. Another benefit, that surprised me is that I no longer have urinary issues. It's great to have the freedom to not have to be running to the bathroom all the time. May our Heavenly Father bless you Jan. <:P

  • and hoping that you are recovering well and feeling comfortable.
  • :) Hi Jan,
    I'm praying for you. Your in my thoughts and heart.
  • I imagine you've had your surgery-how to you feel?
  • Hi! I am doing pretty well following surgery. The swallowing has been the most difficult, but I am able to get some soup down so at least that is more nutrition that jello, pudding, and ice cream! Shoulder pain is getting better, and I've been out walking a few times. Only wearing the collar when I walk outside and if I go in the car. Slept in the recliner the first 2 nights, but spoke to the surgeon yesterday (yes, he called on a Saturday) and he really encouraged me to sleep in a bed...which I did. Pain is controlled, alternating between ice and heat (for the shoulders). Took a shower yesterday which felt great. My surgeon thinks my ROM will be better (eventually) than before surgery...NO tingling at ALL in my right arm since surgery, but still some numbness in tip of thumb and first 2 fingers on right hand (which he said is normal) and some shoulder pain...which gets worse if I'm on the computer. :) So, this is short and sweet...my hubby is waiting for me to get off (he set the timer for 5 mins...lol).

    Thank you for your prayers, well wishes, and encouraging words. You all have blessed me beyond measure.


  • It is lovely to hear from you. It sounds like things have gone well and that the surgery did what it set out to do.
    Now it is over to you for the healing.
    Follow all the rules and take good care of yourself.
    I'll look forward to hearing more about your recovery.
    >:D< >:D< >:D<

  • ended up fainting today (fortunately, I had the good sense to sit down first!) and had to go by ambulance to the ER. My blood pressure was so low they couldn't get a reading...my blood work showed dehydration. So, I am now going to REALLY monitor what I am eating and drinking. My neighbor just brought over some gatorade packets...so I am having a slushy.

    My 10 mins are up for now, but will post tomorrow.
    thanks for all the love, encouragement and support!

  • That must have felt scarey!
    Hopefully it was just a wake up call and your recovery will go smoothly from now on.

    Do look after yourself and let your body recovery from the surgery and heal itself.

    Have a Peaceful Christmas >:D<

  • Good to hear from you post-op. Man, fainting - that's scary and I'm sure hubby was terrified while you were going to the ER.

    With the sore throat, it's so easy to get dehydrated because eating and drinking is so difficult and you just don't want to bother with it. But I'm glad that you're addressing it and hope you begin healing anew.

    Take care of yourself and thanks for keeping us updated.

  • Hi all...saw my surgeon's colleague today. No news is good news. I am continuing to improve daily...biggest problem has been constipation (sorry!), but weaning off pain meds so that should help.

    Tried to start wearing my $5000 bone growth stimulator and ended up in tears. It's so heavy and puts pressure on the area between my shoulder and neck (which is where most of my pain is), that I can't wear it! I called my surgeon's office as well as the rep, and they also called and emailed the rep...so hopefully we can get some help with it. I'm supposed to wear it 4 hours a day for 6 months...yeah, that is not gonna happen! :(

    No driving or physical therapy for 2 more weeks, but then I should be good to go. I can hardly wait to be more independent.

    Again, thank you all for your support and encouragement. I hope I can help others on this site as much as you have helped me!

  • Jan, Thanks for taking the time to sit at the computer and post your progress...I'm facing similar surgery probably next month, not scheduled yet..and it helps me to see your recovery process and progress..makes me not so nervous about facing this kind of surgery. Hope you continue to feel better!
  • Hi...just wanted to update you all. I am doing better than I expected at this point. My main complaint is a headache, but I think that's from wearing the bone growth stimulator and the pressure/weight it puts on my shoulders. I ordered some neck travel pillows which should come tomorrow, so hopefully that will help.

    I am really BORED!! It's so hard for me not to 'do'. My wonderful hubby did take me to the library yesterday so I got 3 books to read.

    I am enjoying our 80 degree southern california weather with lots of brief walks and just sitting outside.

    I see my surgeon on the 12th and hope he releases me to drive and start PT at that time (which will be 4 weeks). I'm almost off pain meds completely and able to eat most things now. My voice is fine,but my arms definitely feel weak.

    Hope everyone is doing well and that your new year is off to a great start!


  • It sounds like you are on the way to being fully recovered. Don't let the boredom and feeling so good tempt you to over do it! Many have walked that path before you and have regretted it.

    Give your body the time to completely heal. What are all those things that you have always wished you had time to do? Now is the time to do them.

    I love hearing good stories like yours. It gives me hope that if / when I have cervical surgery, I will cope with it and get back to being more comfortable.

    Keep trusting and keep healing
    >:D< >:D< >:D<

  • Hi everyone,been reading your posts,glad to see PH Mom is doing well,I will be having anterior cervical decompression with disc removal and pedical screws and fusion, hopefully have some bone spurs trimmed. I'm going to see my spinal surgeon on 17th Jan so will have a chat with him then as to an approximate date for surgery.My only hold back is I am currently recovering from L5/S1 for spondylolisthesis surgery I had 17th Nov 2011 again with pedical screws and fusion,doing ok so far (same surgeon for both operations).
    I was worried about having my neck done as they want to remove the disc and put in a cage with bone graft,I currently can not tip my head back at all due to extreme pain,but can tip my head forwards with little pain,I am worried I will no longer be able to look down when it's fused as my neck would be more rigid.How have you all got on with this?

    Thanks Des
  • Very glad to hear about your 3 weeks post - op. I'm sure I will be the same way when they do my surgery with the boredom part. My friends tease me now as I keep trying to work with one good arm.

    But I will definitely take jellyhalls recommendations though and NOT overdo it or rush back to normal routines. No matter how difficult it can be.

    I have my assessment with my NS tomorrow after completing the 2nd MRI - starting to get a wee bit anxious - but definitely trying to go there with the "glass half full" mentality. I have no doubt regardless what can get thrown at me - with a positive attitude - every thing will be ok.

    Thanks for sharing your updates - and keep going strong.

  • Hi Des...
    I had ACDF at C5-6 and 6-7, so two levels. I have a plate and screws, which I know is different than the cage. At 3 weeks post op, I have about the same flexibility of tipping back (but without my arm going numb), but my forward motion is more limited. I am hoping this gets better with time and physical therapy. My NS said he thought my ROM would be better post-op than it was before, even having 2 levels fused. Hope that helps.
  • Hi!
    You are so right and I am trying to be 'a good girl'. I did over do it at first (which is why I fainted 5 days post-op), but now I am taking it much easier. I am trying to enjoy movies and books, but since I'm supposed to change position every 30 minutes, it's frustrating. My biggest problem is that I am not supposed to stoop or bend for 6 weeks...seriously, how can you do anything without stooping or bending? :)

    I was so encouraged by reading many posts on this site - I'm glad that I can encourage others. It's truly a blessing. I am very grateful for the positive outcome of my surgery and no complications, which is a scary part of spinal surgery.

    Thanks again...you have been a real angel.

  • Hi Jude...
    Please let me know how your assessment goes tomorrow! I know that my NS totally changed his treatment after I had a CT Myelogram...from a foramenotomy to the 2 level ACDF. It's good that your doctor is being thorough!! Be grateful for that.

    Look forward to hearing from you.

  • Thanks Jan for the reminder.

    When I first had my surgery cancelled I was fluctuating between being angry and sobbing like a baby :-) - but yes then I realized how fortunate I am that they are being thorough. (trust me though - it did take me a few days of getting to that point :-)) Especially as I had to psyche myself up about getting the surgery.

    All in all though - as I said - "glass half full" mentality is the only way to go. I figure life is way too short to look at it any other way. I know I will continue to have a few off days now and then - but I think that's normal. Us mere mortals that we be :-)

    So this gal is just going to take a really deep breath - keep the faith and take each day as it unfolds. For some reason I always feel like there is a guardian angel watching over me reminding me of everything I do have to be grateful for.

    I wish you much good health in this new year and many more beyond that.

    Happy New Year everyone. One day at a time.

  • Hey Jan - went to my NS today - and it was almost sureal compared to other visits. I guess a positive mindset does really tend to shine a different light on how things can evolve.

    Today he was smiling - I even got him laughing at one point :-) - We are going with the surgery for February 1st. He did say his only concern was that as I was "so young" he was concerned about the limitations in the mobility I will have.

    But seriously - if my doctor wants to keep telling me I am so young after just turning 50 then who am I to stop him :-) To me this just means that I will be able to embark upon a strong and disciplined recovery path and hopefully long term healthy regime. No more procrastination for this gal. But I will definitely also keep in mind - it takes time and does not happen overnight.

    I actually told him that I joined a forum and based on everything that all the forum folks have been sharing with me, I told him I do believe this surgery will make a difference. Not to mention also prevent any further damage as he himself keeps telling me and which is the main reason that they do ACDF.

    My hope is that the pain will subside and that is what I am aiming for. I was very determined and stronger this time around. Even he noticed. He said you look better today - and I said yes - and with 3 percoet a day - no wonder :-) - and then I looked directly at him and said "I want to improve my quality of life, and prevent any further damage and you can make this happen. So let's take care of it".

    And he smiled - and said ok - let's book it in.

    My next steps is just getting things in order for any absence from my work place as I run a recruitment agency in Toronto Canada, and most importantly I need to keep reminding myself the "art of patience". Everything will unfold as it is meant to.

    Thanks again everyone - will keep you posted.


  • What a difference a day makes! I am happy for you, if that makes sense...it's a relief once it is scheduled (and I had a lot of pre-op stuff to do prior to surgery), so now you know you have it set and you can get to work 'getting ready.' Get your teeth cleaned - you won't be able to do that for a minimum of 3 months. I also got my hair cut and colored, my toe nails painted, and had a facial done. I wanted to be pampered so I could feel as good as possible after surgery!
    We are about the same age - I will turn 50 this summer. My NS said this is the average age!! Isn't that crazy?
    I'm sorry you are having so much pain prior to surgery - my situation was different, with the nerve compression. I am down to 1/2 percocet 3-4 times a day and hope to be off by the end of next week. I try to ice my shoulder area a couple of times a day, and I cannot wait to start physical therapy. I see my surgeon on the 12th.

    I will be praying for you, that your surgery will be successful, that your pain will subside. I tell you, I have not had one episode of numbness/tingling since my surgery...so I could not be more pleased.

    However, this whole 'patience' thing is tough - I think this must be the lesson God wants me to learn through this. Patience. Ugh.

    Hang in there and keep up the great attitude!
    let me know if I can help in any way.

    Gentle hugs,
  • Hi everyone glad Judem has surgery sorted,I will be keeping my fingers crossed for you here in the UK and wishing you a speedy recovery come february.
  • HiJan, just came accrosse some of your post and hope that you are doing much better now. My 4level ACDF was Dec 1,2011. I am doing pretty good, this choaking feeling when laying down is still hear...ugh. I am suppose to start chiropractic therapy here sometime next week when they getit set up, hope it helps loosen me up! Have to wear the hard coller at least 2 more weeks, wear the shower coller and wearing my soft when I sleep or just sitting around the house. Oh yea the lovely BGS. I have to wear mine 4hrs a day for 3 months. Doc said things look good tho. I understand the constipation and the fainting... however I did not faint.. had been light headed, and felt like it several times from not enough liquids. And coughing up all this phelm is driving me crazy,lol Keep hanging n there! God Bless :)
  • I guess we are all so different...I didn't have to wear a collar hardly at all - I slept in it the first two nights, and my doc said, no...don't do that!

    I am doing much better - I go back to the surgeon on the 12th and hope he releases me to drive, go back to work part-time, and start physical therapy. I walk multiple times a day, and fortunately, we've been having lovely weather (almost 80 degrees) so I can sit outside and get fresh air.

    The BGS seems to be helped by my wearing a 'travel' collar type pillow, backward...with the straps and electronics sitting on the pillow instead of my shoulders and chest. I do feel tightness in my neck, which I hope will be helped by PT...but again, I have not had one instance of numbness/tingling in my arm since I woke from surgery...so I am thrilled.

    Take care of yourself and God bless...praying for all of us for healing.

  • appreciate the well wishes.

    As I had mentioned to PHmom - when I was at my NS yesterday, I was speaking very favorably about the spine-health forum.

    I'm glad I discovered it :-)

    Will definitely keep everyone posted seeing as I'm enjoying all the information on a regular basis myself.

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