I wanted to share my VERY positive experience with ACDF recovery. I know that as a general rule, we normally only take the time to write about things that are a bad experience, and we just let the good things go unspoken...so, here is my story.
I have had a rough time with my neck and back from a young age. In my early 20's, I made it worse with a career in auto glass replacement that basically destroyed my cerivical spine. I am now 45 years old. I had several episodes of neck pain that made me stop work as I could not get out of bed without help. I went through therapy and the typical pain med/muscle relaxer route, and it would get me back to work. Over the past 13 years, I have been in a position in outside sales that has removed the hard labor from my life, and my neck has only given my occasional bad flare-ups. This ended in October of 2011 when I had a "normal" flare-up that was blown up by a chiropractor visit. It went from moderate pain to extreme pani and weakness in about 2 hours. I began the process of seeing my neurosurgeon and testing and therapy and more testing(MRI, CT Myelogram, nerve tests). After nearly four months of no relief, we finally got to the point of surgery.
On Feb. 10th, I went under the knife in Cincinnati. I had a double ACDF with donor bone and plate. I awoke with NO pain in my neck where it had been 2 hours before any time I moved my head to the left! The numbness in my left hand and the pain in my left shoulder were gone! I was sitting up and eating peanut butter crackers and drinking soda in less than an hour after surgery and I was on my way home about 2 hours post surgery! Yes, there was some pain and difficulty swallowing. The worst part for the first 3 days was the extreme dry throat and pain in swallowing. This was manageable with pain meds and got better every day. I am now 10 days post-surgery and I have to say, I feel great! I am walking a lot, helping around the house and have almost no pain. I have been off pain meds since day 6 and have only had 1 muscle relaxer in the last 3 days.
I left the hospital with NO collar of any kind and slept pretty well from the first night. My biggest problem has been stopping sleeping on my stomach!
I cannot praise this procedure enough. I have a great Dr. and have been very blessed. Believe me when I tell you there was much prayer involved in this whole ordeal. Thanks for reading such a long post, but have faith if you are facing this procedure. There are great results out here. I will keep you posted with shorter(I promise) posts as I get back to running and living without neck pain.