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4 yrs of relief but I am back and in need of support.

sunshinebry2000ssunshinebry2000 Posts: 81
edited 06/11/2012 - 9:01 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I am a 42 yrs young and was told 4 yrs ago that I had herniated discs C4-5, C5-6 and C6-7 It was suggested that i should have ACDF on all 3 levels. The thought of metal in my neck terrified me,I actually found this sight at that time and to be honest some of the posts scared me even more. One wise person did respond and explained that most of the posts are for people who have had bad experiences because the success stories get on with living life and do not need support.

I had chiropractor at the time who said he had a new decompression machine that has been working miracles with herniated discs and although it was expensive I took out a loan and went on it for eight weeks.It was a miracle and all my symptoms were gone. I would have flair ups every once and a while and would go for a week or 2 and would be fine again for 4 yrs.I must confess that once that happened, I did not log on to this sight during my pain free yrs. I am sorry for that but I had posted about the machine and it seemed that all that responded were negative and told me it would not work and I could not believe that at that time.

So fast forward about 2 months ago I had what I thought was another flair up but this was different and i knew that, My arm was bothering me more than my neck and that was seldom my issue but still I went on the machine just sure it was going to fix all.It is funny how denial can affect us.My arm just got worse, I had noticed weekness and pain so severe that sometimes words could not describe it. About 3 weeks ago it was unbearable and I went to ER. I ended up back at spine surgeon with MRI stating 3-4 mm posterior disc bulge on C 4-5 and 5-6 mm bulge on C 5-6 and the final 5mm disc herniation on C 5-6 with compression on the cord. there is severe spinal stenosis C-4 thru T-1.

So all I did was keep it at bay for four yrs but I am grateful for that. I played mind games with my self this last few weeks since I cannot work my right arm barely works. I did have an cervical ESI yesterday, thinking I just need to bring down the inflammation!!!!The thought of surgery scares me but the thought of this pain in my arm not going away scares me more so I am scheduled for 3 level ACDF on April 16.
I feel very little support from my family because they do not understand, I am on pain meds but I find myself chasing pain all day and some days the pain wins!So I come back with tail between my legs saying you were right and I was wrong and will you help me through this process.I am a smoker and have just picked up the patches but am having hard time letting that go but I will! Never had a good enough reason to quit before this is a good enough reason.

I have read alot of the posts and am getting some idea of what I might need after surgery but I do live alone and do not have a recliner and not sure how I am going to do on my own. I sleep now propped up on pillows and only get an hour here and hour there when the pain is intense...I do not have money to go buy a recliner I am going to need to improvise. So I am just looking for some guidance and hope if you can please respond. thanks sorry it is so long.
Kimberly Martin


  • No reason to blame yourself for trying anything to try to avoid surgery,
    Its not even about being right or wrong here on the forum,

    Just cause some of our opinions might not of agreed that something other then surgery would help means nothing, We have no idea what can realy improve or even cure anyones condition because we are only victims to these spine conditions ourself,

    I spent many years for treatments with chiro before i ever had surgery and many alternative treatments as everyone should, You name it i tried it,

    Now taking out a loan for any treatment just on a maybe i would not do and could not do,

    All that maters is you know you tried everything to avoid surgery and if surgery is now needed then thats where you are at right now,

    Best of luck with your surgery,
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
  • First let me say welcome back to spine-health. I myself think it is important that you try everything possible and only you can decide when surgery is right for your individual situation. So with that said sounds like surgery it has come down to. As far as the surgery itself of couple of things come to mind. One being you are a smoker and doing a multi-level fusion, what type of bone grafting material are they using? There are higher rates of failure with the multi-levels is why I ask.

    As far as not owning a recliner I wouldn't worry as I was in the same position and just used my couch with pillows propped up. Another thing will you be wearing a brace or collar post surgery? As far as living alone, I was in the same situation and yes I did come home alone and honestly got by just fine by myself. But I was completely prepared for my return having all the right foods, my place I was going to rest(couch), with everything setup. So it is important to read the surgery post-op thread must haves and pick which things you will need, such as bendy straws, soft foods, and so on.

    Your stay in the hospital will more than likely be one day or one night if you use a surgery center as I did. Sometimes the hospitals may keep patients longer. Be sure if you are uncomfortable that you let them know. More than likely a few hours post surgery they will get you up walking about and have you eat some soft foods and drink fluids. Once they are certain you can manage on your own and the pain is under control is when they will discharge you, as I said more than likely the following day.

    Sounds like you have done your home work and picked the right surgeon, so you need to relax let them do their job and have a positive approach to the surgery. In your recovery the best thing you can do is walk and once you think you have walked enough, walk some more. Spring is here so a great time to get out and enjoy your neighborhood and talk with your neighbors. If there is anything I can do to help don't hesitate to pm me. take care and keep us posted.
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,427
    ...yourself. You did the best at the time. And I think many would try to avoid surgery.

    So now you have other options and surgery may help you a lot and I sure hope that you do very well with the surgery.

    You will need all your energy for healing..so no regrets for the past :)

    Let us know how you are doing!
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • The surgeon I have is great and has a good reputation, I did not like him 4yrs ago I felt he was a little cocky but either his bedside manner has improved or I am more ready to accept him because I like him now. He said I will be in hospital 2-3days, I actually work at this hospital so i actually will get sort of a VIP treatment so i might stay 2days.4yrs ago he had said he would use cadaver bone to replace the discs but this time he said there is a plastic material they are using with higher success rates of fusion, do you guys know of that?

    I tell you my mood has been grimm and I know I need a positive attitude but I am not sure where i am suppose to pick that up at? do they sell positive attitudes at walmart??lol I think my friends although they feel bad just are not reaching out and i believe they think like before I will get through it but i do feel a little abandoned, so im grateful for this sight!

    He said I will be in a hard collar the first 2weeks. I am only on MLOA from work until 5/31 so i need to be better by then because I have exhausted all my sick leave with this past 4 weeks upcoming 7. He said I should be able to work, I have a desk job with alot of computer work. My arm is my biggest issue because of the pinched nerve. But I still see the chiro 3 times a week and that is why my neck is not hurting anymore but that is all he can address. The MRI is ugly but I am hopeful or at least becoming hopeful.
    Kimberly Martin
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