Hi everyone, wanted to share my experience with those who are considering or will be having ACDF. My surgery was to correct only one level. The procedure was without issues and successful. My recovery to-date have been fairly smooth. Upon waking up in the recovery room I immediately noticed I had no pain in my right arm, which is where the symptoms were originally occurring. I stayed overnight in the hospital. My spinal surgeon was noncommittal on my wearing the soft collar - he suggested that I only needed to use it for comfort. I found it completely annoying and took it off before he even finished that sentence!
During the first couple of weeks after the surgery I was stiff and sore in my upper back but sleeping in my bed was fairly easy. The soreness seems to have resolved itself for now, although I occasionally feel slight stiffness/pain in between my shoulder blades -- nothing that a bit of rest can't help. I did find myself taking really long naps (3 hours!) which I'm attributing to the healing process.
My doctor also said no stretching/running/lifting exercise until I've been cleared for fusion, which will take 8-12 weeks. I've been taking walks and started by just going around the block and am now doing about a 1/2 hour. I do find that after I've been sitting/relaxing for awhile, I tend to stiffen up, so walking around a bit is a good way to work out the kinks so to say.
Speaking of rest, you absolutely have to make sure you do this! I am not a person that sits still very well and after having to endure the painful symptoms of the herniated disc and then the agony of deciding on the surgery, I now tell myself to SIT DOWN and REST so that fusion can happen sooner than later. There have been days when I have felt so good that I have to remind myself to TAKE IT EASY and not overdo anything, but I don't want to have to go through all this again anytime soon so "sit and stay" is my motto for now.
All-in-all, things are going well. I am extremely glad I made the decision to go ahead with the procedure and am so grateful to my wonderful spinal surgeon and his team who had to listen to a few teary phone calls from me before the surgery!
Happy to answer any questions and will continue to post as FUSION continues......