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Preparing for ACDF Surgery C5/C6 C6/c7

MBW1972MMBW1972 Posts: 9
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:59 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hello, I am new to this forum but at the urging of friend he thought it would help me. I am 39 yo and scheduled to have ACDF at my C5/C6 C6/C7 surgery at RIHospital February 21st. I have never undergone surgery and wanted to know how best to prepare myself for this and what to expect upon coming out of surgery. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I am very nervous.
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  • I am also preparing for the same surgery, just up a notch..c4/c5 and c5/c6. My surgery was finally approved last Monday and I am having surgery next Thursday, although I have know since October that it was coming. I guess I am not a lot of help, since I havent had surgery yet, but I do know what you are going through trying to prepare! I just told a friend today that I feel like I should be preparing for next week, but I just dont know where to start..lol.
    I do have a friend from out of town who has been here since Jan 9th, waiting for me to have surgery and she will be here for atleast 4 weeks after. I am the only driver/care taker for my son and 87 yr old mother, so I needed someone who could come in and do what I cant do for awhile. I have also been trying to stock up on household items (I am a big couponer) and other things we will need for the next few months. The hard part for me is that I have been on no driving/no working restrictions for months now.
    I hope you find the info you need and will be watching for pointers for myself.
    Good luck with your upcoming surgery!
  • Everyone is different. I was scared when I went in the day of the surgery but I'm so glad I had it. Even though I might never regain the full strength in my left arm the pain and numbness is gone from both arms and my left leg doesn't feel "weird" anymore. The only problem I have now is getting used to wearing this collar 24/7 for the next 9 1/2 weeks. And I did have a sore throat for about a week after and minor difficulty swallowing.

    I would suggest getting one of those reacher because you ain't supposed to bend over. Get some button up shirts. soft foods to start out with, a chair for the shower/bathtub and put important things at eye level so you can reach them better, The best thing is a recliner-I haven't been able to sleep in my bed since June so I am quite used to it.

    The best advice is to follow the doctors instructions. You are going to be REALLY tired for a while(I still am) but you still need to WALK, Yesterday I did a 2 mile walk and it felt so good-I took my time and what was normally a 1/2 walk turned into about a 2 hour one. And I did it with a torn meniscus in my knee,LOL!
    I'm sure others will chime in but best of luck to the both of you!
  • MBW1972 said:
    Hello, I am new to this forum but at the urging of friend he thought it would help me. I am 39 yo and scheduled to have ACDF at my C5/C6 C6/C7 surgery at RIHospital February 21st. I have never undergone surgery and wanted to know how best to prepare myself for this and what to expect upon coming out of surgery. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I am very nervous.

    I don't really remember too much after the surgery. I know my NS and his PA came in to see how I was doing in my room but what I do remember is the noisy nurses at the nurses station at 2 in the morning and the snoring room mate I got the next night. The food was okay but I like my cooking better.

    Seriously. don't get too worked up over it. I did and my blood pressure went through the roof at admitting. I had about as long a wait as you did and got all worked up.

    I have the BEST NS if I can brag a bit.
  • Welcome all. For suggestions on post-op must haves go to the tread at the beginning of Back and Neck Surgery labeled "Post op Must Haves" by Saltzworks. It contains some really good advice. The recliner was and is one of the best investments (I just got home from a laminectomy and discectomy) for neck or back.

    Do what you can ahead of time and follow orders after your surgery!

    Best luck to you.

    KarenD
    KarenD
    4 level ACDF C4-C7 5-2-11, laminectomy & discectomy L4-L5 1/26/12, ALIF L4-5, L5-S1 12/10/12.
  • Glad that you have joined us on SH! It is so natural to feel nervous leading up to surgery, just try not to get too overwhelmed. Do something special for yourself as the day gets closer.

    I am also having surgery in Feb.(ADR L5/S1 Feb 6th) so although it is a completely different surgery, I will be recovering right along with you.

    The link that KarenD was talking about can be found here http://www.spine-health.com/forum/back-surgery-and-neck-surgery/post-op-must-haves-0 it is a very helpful list,although you won't need everything on it, it is a great help.

    Wishing you all the best!

    >:D< Karen
    >:D< >:-D< : Karen
    L3-S1 herniation and bulges, stenosis, mod facet,ddd,impinged nerves,coccydinia
    discectomy/lami July 2011-unsuccessful
    adr L5-S1 Feb 2012
  • I really appreciate everyone's advice and good wishes! Yes, we have a recliner we are planning to move in to our bedroom, I don't want to keep my husband awake at night trying to get comfortable. I plan to get everything ready a week or so ahead of time in case I forgot anything. I have a great support system with my husband, parents and friends which is fortunate. It sounds like I won't be doing much the first few weeks. I have gathered a list of books to take out of the library and Netflix is great for movies and tv series. I think the biggest adjustment for me is trying not to do anything - being idle is not something I'm good at. But I see that following doctor's orders is key, which I plan to do.
    :)))
  • Good luck with your surgery !! I had my ACDF 2 1/2 weeks ago. I am still sleeping in my recliner, it's the ONLY place I can get comfortable in. Take care of yourself, go SLOW, and follow the doc's restrictions. Listen to your body...if it hurts...STOP !!! Hope all goes well for you. Karen
  • Just wanted to direct you over to another thread that a few of us who have responded here have contributed to -- http://www.spine-health.com/forum/back-surgery-and-neck-surgery/acdf-buddies-nov11-feb12-surgeries. It's for those of us who have recently had or are preparing to soon have this same surgery. There might be some things that we've written about that could be helpful to you!

    And definitely reach out here or even just come here to whine and complain when you don't feel that you can do that with anyone else -- it's a great and very understanding community!
  • Welcome to the SH forum. This is a great place to get some advice and tips. I had a 4 Level ACDF surgery on Dec 1, 2011. With 4 levels it is a long road. I just started therapy last week Jan 30th. Things are coming along slowly but surely. I still haven't driven yet, but I am down to just my soft coller!! Make sure you keep lots of water with in reach as I had swallowing issues for a bit..still have some but not like it was. the sites that they sent you to have alot of information. And follow your DRs orders. Don't over do it and dont' be in a hurry. Just let ppl do things for you. A recliner is a must. I am fortunate to have a hospital bed (got a great deal on it a few years ago). If you like to get on your computer, get a table that will bring it up to eyes. I use a pillow to prop up my arms. Hope that everything goes great for you. Prayer for you and your DR and his/her team. God Bless
    Teresa
  • Hi there,
    Thank you for replying, I really appreciate it. I am very happy to read about everyone's recoveries and their suggestions. It is 18 days away. I have a recliner lined up to be moved down to my bedroom on the first floor. I have started buying soft foods and readying clothes for post-surgery that are comfy and easy to put on. How soon after do people begin physical therapy? What does it typically consist of? Is it neck and arm exercises? I haven't given much thought to that aspect of the recovery. What sticks in my mind most is to NOT OVER DO IT. I guess it's easier said than done but I will have people reminding me about that.
    I will keep checking back for additional comments. Thanks for taking the time to write, it helps me a great deal.
  • Hi Melanie...
    I just messaged you, but will respond here. I started PT after four weeks. I think 4-6 weeks is normal. I began with deep tissue massage, heat, ice, and some very limited exercises. At 6 weeks, I am doing some very gentle stretches and doing arm raises with 1 lb weights. A lot of us have lost strength in our arms due to nerve compression and lack of use, so it's been helpful. I use exercise bands as well. You are pretty limited on what you can do until 12 weeks.

    I started going 3 days a week, but now am doing 2 days a week to make my benefits last longer. I am also good about doing the exercises at home on my off days.

    I'm praying for you!
    Jan
  • I was diagnosed with Cervical spondylosis back in 2009 after having continuous upper shoulder/neck pain for about a year. I went in to see a shoulder doctor (Indianapolis Colts doctor) thinking it was a failing rotator cuff on my right side. Turns out after taking numerous Xrays, that he determined I had Cervical spondylosis. I was hoping to excape surgery but when it became a quality of life issue, I went to see a neck specialist. They did a MRI on my neck and two of the discs were completely gone, bone spurs growing, etc. I ended up having an ACDF: Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion done. It's been almost 18 months out from surgery. Yes, I still have some pain but after a year of therapy, I am able to sleep again. Was it worth it? You'll know when you aren't able to get any rest. Good luck with your decision and keep us updated on your progress.
    Dave
  • I forgot to add, VERY IMPORTANT!!!!!
    make sure you take a stool softener with your pain meds....I've been through 4 surgeries in the past 5 years and learned from my mistakes. My doctor put me on Miralax powder, and it makes a world of difference.


  • Had this done about 6 months after surgery. Very relaxing and gets rid of the tight muscles from after the surgery. I had about a months worth of treatments and it made a WORLD of difference....
    D

    Link removed, solicitation not permitted
    Post Edited by Authority Member Liz
  • Tomorrow is my surgery - I am oddly calm so I am hoping it continues through arriving at the hospital until I am put under. I feel as prepared as I can be and am hoping all of the wonderful thoughts, prayers and good wishes sent my way will help me pull through surgery in to recovery. I appreciate all those who have written in here with advice, it really makes me feel so much better knowing how many others are out there with this same issue and knowing that they have done so well with surgery/recovery.
    Thank you. I will update as soon as I am able to!
    :)
  • Tomorrow is my surgery - I am oddly calm so I am hoping it continues through arriving at the hospital until I am put under. I feel as prepared as I can be and am hoping all of the wonderful thoughts, prayers and good wishes sent my way will help me pull through surgery in to recovery. I appreciate all those who have written in here with advice, it really makes me feel so much better knowing how many others are out there with this same issue and knowing that they have done so well with surgery/recovery.
    Thank you. I will update as soon as I am able to!
    :)
  • I also was very calm prior to surgery. Everyone reacts differently. I was just was anxious to get it over with and start healing. I am 3 weeks post op and doing well. Did more today than i have done since surgery and am paying for it right now. But, it is not unbearable. ACDF at C5/6. As everyone says, listen to your body.
  • Saw your post today and see you were set to have surgery yesterday. Want to send heart-thoughts and prayers your way for a smooth, secure recovery.

    I remember my first C-Spine surgery and it was best to rest, use the meds that relieve pain and allow you to de-stress from the trauma of surgery. Allow your family to help you at your pace.

    Much support here as you move through your recovery :)

    Joydancer
  • Hi,
    I just wanted to respond here - I had posted right before surgery back in February. I wanted to thank everyone who wrote in with their good wishes and suggestions. I have to say I am doing very well, resting at home. I told my husband tonight this is the best I have felt in a while. The first week after surgery was probably the worst. But every day has been better and better. I saw my NS two weeks after surgery and am cleared to return to work in early April. I will not begin PT until after my xrays in late April. My scar is healing well although the stitches and derma-bond are still well affixed. The PA said the stitches will soon start coming off and I can peel the glue off a little at a time. All in all I feel good, it was a good decision to get this done now. I have resumed driving although not far and I still am a bit nervous but figure it's best to get back at it and build confidence every day. I walk daily and limit my activities. I can tell when I have done too much when my shoulder starts burning. I still am not allowed to do housework (laundry, vacuuming, lifting) so it's a bit boring at home sitting there not being able to do anything. But I have heeded advice by listening to my doctor and taking it easy. The best thing is fresh air, sleep and lots of help from my family and my husband. They have been amazing. If anyone has questions, please feel free to inbox me. I have made a wonderful pen-pal on this forum, she has helped me tremendously throughout this entire ordeal. Everyone on here has been so informative and sympathetic. Truly a great place to be to hear stories and relay information. Thanks again everyone. O:)
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