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Discectomy and fusion, c4-5 and c5-6 worried and not prepared..lol!

winnahwwinnah Posts: 36
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:59 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I have been waiting since the end of October to have my surgery. My insurance company had a change in benefits starting Jan 1st, so my surgery was finally approved today! (yeah..kinda) The surgeons office called and scheduled my pro-op for monday morning. The are scheduling surgery ASAP afterwards. I guess my neck issues are pretty bad, he has had me not working, not driving and not doing much of anything since Oct. I havent gotten a second opinion, my primary Dr referred me for one, but their first appointment is April 2013..yes, I really mean 2013! She tried a few other surgeons but none take my insurance (state insurance)
I am hoping I will feel more comfortable with having surgery after talking to him at the pre-op appointment. Its hard for me to imagine actually having surgery within a week or so, it seems unreal. I do have a friend staying with me, she came up from Texas and will be here atleast until the end of Feb (thank God for old, dear friends!) I have a 13 yr old and also take care of my 87 yr old mom who lives with us, so I figured I would really need outside help for a while anyway, since I am the only care taker/driver in the house. I have been stocking up on things I think I will need. Any advice, words of wisdom..etc..would be appriciated! I have read through some of the posts on what is needed after surgery and what questions to ask the dr, but its all a bit overwhelming to me right now.


  • YOU are going to need help so make sure you have something in place before you have your operation ,i am 3 weeks post ALIF {2 level} and still bed ridden just showering takes it out of me and i am still off my food and have a dry mouth etc {only 45} and otherwise healthy ,needing lots of support from my wife ,so please done undo all that work that the consultant will be doing for you ..YOU need the help trust me
    1997 laminectomy
    2007 repeat laminectomy and discectomy L4/L5
    2011 ALIF {L4/L5/S1}
    2012 ? bowel problems .still under investigation
    2014 bladder operation may 19th 2014
  • Thanks :) I do have a friend staying with me to take care of me for a few weeks, she can stay as long as she is needed. My insurance doesnt cover any home health care, unfortunatly.
  • Take your friend with you to the pre-op appointment. You could write out a list of questions so you make sure you ask the doctor everything you are concerned about. Your friend could take notes and especially since she will be a caregiver for you she can hear first hand what needs to be done to keep you safe and have a successful recovery.
    4 level ACDF C4-C7 5-2-11, laminectomy & discectomy L4-L5 1/26/12, ALIF L4-5, L5-S1 12/10/12.
  • See if your doctor will put an artificial disc (ie: Prestige LP or similar) instead of fusing w/plate. I am now looking for a doctor to remove the plate at c-5/6 and 6/7.
  • I went to my pre-op appointment today. It was so different from what I was expecting. The Dr said I could go home the same day (but I said I would rather stay the night because I live about 1 1/2 hrs away. he said I only had to wear a brace if I wanted to and that I didnt have any restrictions except not lifting more than 70 pounds above my head..what?? he said most people are back driving in a week or two and back to work in 2-3 weeks. It all seems so very different that what I have read online (not just these forums) Of course I took a member of my family with me, who has now decided that its no big deal at all, I shouldnt need take it easy, since there are no restrictions except no more than 70 pounds and I should be back to normal in a couple weeks..I dont know..makes me wonder.
  • Hi Winnah. That is one of the strangest, yet not unheard of, pre-op suggestions from your doc I've ever heard. 70 pounds, are you kidding me? I simply couldn't disagree more with what restrictions your doctor has, well, not given you. It took me two weeks before I started walking, couldn't drive for a month, couldn't lift more than 5 lbs., and didn't go back to work for 3 months.

    I hate to say this, but I'd get a second opinion. Because your surgeon takes this surgery that lightly, I'd want to talk to someone who takes it more seriously. Back to normal in a couple of weeks, are you kidding me?

    See what you can do about getting another opinion if you can.

    Take care and keep us posted.
  • Hi,
    I had a c4-c6 and i can't believe what your doctor told you for after surgery care/restrictions. I too have to tell you- something is not right with your surgeon and it is my opinion that you need to get another opinion. Sorry and I hope you find the right doc.
  • I had ACDF c6/c7 two weeks ago. I am still in a soft collar, can't lift anything over 5 lbs, still sleeping in a recliner, not driving, and still in quite a bit of pain. I only had one level done. The info your doc gave you is WRONG !!! Talk to the people who have gone through this surgery...we will all help you !!! It's good you found your way to this website..there is a lot of very helpfull information here. The recovery from this surgery is a lot longer than your doc is telling you. You will need a lot of help for the first few weeks or so, and afterwords you have to take it nice and SLOW !!!Good luck with your surgery. Tack care, Karen
  • I had a 2 level ACDF in September. also c4-5 and c5-6. My surgeon told me i could drive in a week, and only 1 week in a collar. lifting was more restrictive, although i don't remember the exact amount of weight he was ok with. (basically it was don't lift my 4 year old for a while.) i will say, i've seen alot of posts of people who were in collars for 4-6 weeks or more. and no driving for a while. but each doc is different and has their own preferences. i did try to drive after a week, but it really aggravated the nerve pain down my arm, so i waited another week before i tried again. (and we're talking short 5 minute drives, to and from my daughter's pre-school, nothing major) and it was doable after about 2 weeks. i was very tired for at least 6-8 weeks post surgery. but i was able to function, and i did sleep in my own bed at night. no recliner. it wasn't always the most comfortable positions, but it was ok. alot of it depends on what you're told you should do and how you feel. Oh, and i'm only 39. hope this helps somewhat.
    Microdisectomy / hemi-laminectomy 6/2010 and revision 10/2010
    Cervical fusion C4-5 and C5-6 9/2011
    Lumbar Fusion L5-S1 6/2012
  • I am not really comfortable with what my Dr said, and am really glad I have been reading these forums for awhile or I think I would have been in for a total shock after surgery! Unfortunatly, I do not have any other good option, the only other neurosurgeon on my insurance plan doesnt even have an opening for over a year! I have been on no driving, no working restrictions since my MRI last September and cannot wait another year. I plan on having the surgery and hoping it goes well. Really, all I need the surgeon to do is perform the surgery well. I have read about and researched the surgery for the past 5 months. I basically know what I should and shouldnt do and had already prepared for that before talking to him at my pre-op appointment. I have a friend who is staying with me for 4 weeks after surgery (because I am the caregiver for my mom and son) and think I have prepared as much as I can for the weeks and possibly months after surgery. I am going to pray that it goes well and that my surgeon does his best work and I am going to do what I can to make sure that I heal well, dont overdo it and get through these next few months.
  • I agree with you completely, it helps when you have support! I hope that all goes well and you are in that percentage that does great! After you are healed, try to stay active and keep up with your physical therapy at home! :) Good luck!
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