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Islandstylist Home from ACDF

Hi everyone,

Just wanted to let you all know that I was released yesterday and came home last night. The dr said the surgery went well. 2 hour surgery. He used a cage and hardware. Swallowing pain is minimal, more like a lump in my throat. Hard to get out of bed in the morning without putting my hands under my head and lifting it up. The pain is not too bad though and I made sure I was sent home with adequate pain meds.

My mother is here taking care of the baby and helping me out. I am going to shower today and change my dressing. Exciting I know. Lol!

My staples will be removed in a week and in 2 weeks I stop wearing my soft collar. I go for a checkup with neuro at 6 weeks. I am weak and tired but I am happy I had this operation. I hope all my friends that just had surgery are doing well in their recovery, Joe, cheeky, bookcat and many others. I will post later if I feel up to it, just wanted to let you all know that I am home. If anyone has any questions feel free to ask.

Big hugs, happy to be in recovery,hope everyone has a pain free day.
Missy, 1 level ACDF C6/C7 Monday July 16th 2012.



  • Welcome home Missy!
    I've been waiting for a message from you, and was so pleased to see it.
    I sounds like things have gone well and that your recovery is now under way.
    Now, follow all the rules and give your body time to get over the surgery and then to heal from the 'attack'.
    Big hugs back to you.
  • Missy, the surgery sounds like it went well! Take things day by day. One advice is to make sure you do some walking, even if it's just around your driveway and slowly work up to walking a little more each week. If you can get over the first few weeks, you will definitely begin to appreciate the benefits of your surgery. Congratulations on being on the other side! Hugs and more hugs to you! :-)
    2011 ACDF C5-6 for Spondylosis with Myleopathy
    2012 L4-5 herniated disc and hernated disc at C4/5 2013 Taking Amitriptyline for headaches
  • Glad to hear you're home and on to recovery. It's a great feeling to have it overwith and be back home, isn't it? Make sure to follow docs orders (no BLT) even when you start to feel better. And keep up on your meds to stay ahead of the pain.

    I'm very happy you made it to the other side and are happy about the surgery. Welcome home and keep us updated on your recovery.

  • so pleased you are this side of the op and everything went well. take it easy and all the best for a continued recovery! gentle hugs sent your way.
  • It's great that you're home and doing pretty well! Do yourself a favor and do what you can but don't overdo! It's so easy to push it too far and pay for it the next day. I'm glad that the swallowing pain is minimal. You don't have to live on mashed potatoes and ice cream!

    Keep us posted on how you're doing.
    4 level ACDF C4-C7 5-2-11, laminectomy & discectomy L4-L5 1/26/12, ALIF L4-5, L5-S1 12/10/12.
  • Welcome home my friend I am so happy to hear you are doing fine. I had to call my surgeons office and was given another script for pain meds, apparently I was sent home with different script as the surgeon prescribed the Vicodin ES but just one every six hours instead of one- two every six hours. It has helped with some of the pain and just have to wait and see what happens. My left shoulder is still higher then right, are your shoulders even? Relax and don't worry about us, post when you can and want to. God Bless, Joe
    ACDF C5-6 July 10, 2012 with plate and screws.
  • Welcome home Missy!!! It sounds like your surgery went beautifully, and I'm glad you're home with your mom taking care of you and the baby- you're a lucky girl :) Keep us posted on how you're feeling!! :)
    Big hugs & sweet dreams :)
    Slipped on a wet stair case the morning of 10/31/11, landed flat on my tush & blew up my spine & both SI joints.
    3 level ACDF C4-C7 7/11/12 (collapsed discs & severe cord compression)
    lumbar fusion to be scheduled once healed from ACDF
  • Thank you so much Jellyhall, Lili, Cathie, KarenD, cheeky, welshlady and Joe! I was able to eat a piece of pizza last night. Still pretty sore, I am sleeping in my own bed without my soft collar at night and that seems to be fine. I don't need my meds until I wake up.

    It hit me yesterday how serious this surgery was. Weird to have to keep my head straight all the time. Anyway I am doing fine. Trying to let my mom do everything for me. Next week my baby will go with my future MIL for the week so I will be by myself. I will make sure I have things at arms reach.

    I hope cheeky bookcat and Joe are all doing well in their recoveries. I think of you all a lot.

    Hugs to all of you in my spine health family.
    Missy, 1 level ACDF C6/C7 Monday July 16th 2012.

  • So glad to hear this news. Try and rest up
    you have been thru a lot these past few days
    with having the long drive.

    Take Care Missy,

    Hugs your way.
    ACDF C4-C7 5/13/2010. Synthetic Bone Graft Failed Fusion.
    PCF C4-C7 8/13/13. Rods and Screws Fused in 3 Months with Autograft.
    C6-C7 Spineous process Surgically Shaved Off 3/11/14.
  • jellyhalljjellyhall Posts: 4,373
    edited 07/19/2012 - 10:25 AM
    It sounds like you are doing very well. Great to be able to eat Pizza so early on. And that you are managing to sleep in your own bed without a collar. I would worry that I would put my head in a bad position and hurt myself.

    The last couple of nights I have woken up with a terrible headache and think it is due to my sleeping position.

    Now allow yourself time to heal and get over the trauma (both emotional and physical) of this big surgery.
    Enjoy having people looking after you and helping with your little boy. You don't want to set back your healing so follow all the rules.

    Keep healing! xx
  • gmht1989ggmht1989 Posts: 13
    edited 07/20/2012 - 5:45 AM
    today is two weeks since my 3 level acdf. i came out of the collar today. i have to be real careful not to overdo it now. i really feel so good. walking alot. at least a mile a day now. no pain meds for the last 10 days. i hope your recovery continues as good as it appears.
  • Today is Friday, I have been sleeping well, no collar at night, no pain meds at night either. Feels like someone slashed my throat though today. There's a gravity like pulling feeling where my incision is. But I guess thats to be expected since someone did slit my throat. Lol!

    All in all I think my recovery is going as planned. I feel like I am more fragile emotionally than physically. I will continue to follow dr's orders though and will see the neurosurgeon mid August. I hope everyone else is recovering well. Joe, cheeky, bookcat?

    And to the ladies that have had this surgery how did you shave your legs?

    Susabell! I will try to rest, very hard to sit still all the time though! Lol! I hope you are doing well hon. I love to hear from you.

    Jellyhall, I am trying really hard to only keep my head forward, I think whats most difficult for me is not looking down. Lol! I will try to behave myself though. I hope you are doing well? How are you feeling today? Have you been sleeping any better? How are the headaches? Big hugs hon.

    Gmht, So awesome that you are feeling really good and that your collar is off now. Did you sleep with it on? Do you have hardware? I wish you continued success in your recovery my friend!
    Missy, 1 level ACDF C6/C7 Monday July 16th 2012.

  • so great you are doing so well!

    each day as it comes, and slowly slowly, phrases that i am trying to remember!

    i think its ok to feel more emotional after such a major assault to our bodies, not to mention the effect of the pain relief, anaesthetic etc.

    sounds to me like you are doing so well you might be tempted to do something you shouldnt like reach for that one thing thats a little bit too high... believe me you dont want to be doing it, every time i listen to my stubborness and push myself too hard, i spend the next few days really wishing i hadnt!

    i was told the best thing i could do to help my recovery was to walk.... so walking i am doing lots of!

    keep taking care, and hope that tomorrow is also a great day for you! big hug
  • Thanks for asking. I slept really well last night, and didn't wake up with the awful headache. I did have one later in the day, but it has mostly gone now.

    Keep healing and take gentle short walks.

    Gentle hugs xx

  • i slept with the hard collar for two weeks. actually wasnt so bad. last night was the first without a collar. i just have to get the pillow height right and then it is ok. i have four levels of titanium hardware. the ns was really happy with how it all lined up. it is really hard not to twist my head too much now that i am out of the collar.
  • I'm glad you are feeling better Missy I hope your recovery continues forward. I have pain in the back of my neck where the ear lobes start curving back in about half to one finger length in and sometimes I feel a surge down through my arms. I'll see the surgeon on Monday. My best wishes for you Missy.
    ACDF C5-6 July 10, 2012 with plate and screws.
  • What sort of titanium hardware did you have?
    My neurosurgeon has said that he will use titanium cages with nothing else. He said that the cages have teeth that grip into the vertebrae that will hold them solid and in place. I am looking for someone else who has had a fusion with this, as it sounds rather minimalistic to me. I do trust him, but would love to find someone else who had this method who has had a successful surgery.

    Missy, I hope that you are continuing to heal well and that you have had a good weekend.
  • he used a titanium cage which he put some cells from my hip into and then used the normal screws and bracing on the outside.
  • Did he use a plate with the screws?
    My surgeon say only the titanium cage, he even said without any bone graft! I wonder if he will use any bone that he removes from bony spurs ground up inside the cage. He said that the cage has holes in it and the bone will grow through these holes.

    I had a lumbar fusion from the back two years ago, and that surgeon used a cage filled with my own lamina which he removed, all ground up. He also used screws and rods with more of my own bone around it. That seems to have fused fine.
  • KarenDKKarenD Posts: 742
    edited 07/22/2012 - 2:11 PM
    I had titanium cage and screws with plastic discs for my C3-7. Within a couple months I was showing good signs of fusing. I went through "normal" recovery - not easy but gained progress day to day for a number of weeks.

    Hope this helps
    4 level ACDF C4-C7 5-2-11, laminectomy & discectomy L4-L5 1/26/12, ALIF L4-5, L5-S1 12/10/12.
  • and thanks for your answer.
    Were your screws to screw the cage in place?
    The surgeon showed us the titanium cage he uses, and it has several 'teeth' on it that he says grip into the vertebrae. He opens up a space, puts them in place and then closes the vertebrae onto them. That's what I understand anyway. He said they grip really well. He knew another surgeon who needed to remove one after two weeks and it was in so tight that he had to drill it out. Ouch! I hope he gets it in the right place!

    How are you now Karen, after a year?

  • KarenDKKarenD Posts: 742
    edited 07/23/2012 - 3:47 PM
    I just assumed the screws were to hold the cage in place, but I'm not sure. The fusion worked well. The pain down my arms has decreased but not gone away, and can increase if I do too much. The pain in my neck and shoulders decreased but has increased lately. The surgeon said he couldn't promise me decrease in pain, just that he would arrest the progression of issues. Given that, I am satisfied with the results of the surgery. I have arthritis and bursitis (in various locations) so I am concentrating on trying to gain some strength. I've also had a laminectomy & discectomy at L4-5 which hasn't turned out as well. I think I remember you have lumbar issues as well?
    4 level ACDF C4-C7 5-2-11, laminectomy & discectomy L4-L5 1/26/12, ALIF L4-5, L5-S1 12/10/12.
  • Yes, I do have lumbar issues. I had a fusion done in March 2010 which has improved things a lot. I do have symptoms and pains returning in my legs and feet, but I think these are coming from the compression of the cord in my neck. I had a laminectomy and sicectomy at the same time. I had a grade 2 spondylolisthesis and it was starting to tip over taking my spine above with it. It was unstable so I had to have a fusion. I would definately go ahead with that surgery again if I had to decide. Mostly, my lumbar spine is now good to go!

    I also have some protruding discs in my thoracic spine, one of which is slightly compressing the cord. For the moment, I am leaving that alone but I have been offered injections there if I want to try them.

    I have also been told that the operation on my neck would be to stop the progression of the problem rather than to relieve symptoms. My surgeon did say that he expects 70% of his patients to get some sort of relief from the surgery, but that he couldn't predict how much or how long that would take to achieve. This does rather make me think that perhaps it is a good idea to get on and do it rather than keep waiting. That way my symptoms have less time to increase. I am still waiting to hear what the neurologist thinks is causing my symptoms. You may recall that I was referred to rule out MS.

    In the back of my mind though, I always wonder what this first neurosurgeon who keeps saying that we should wait and he will see me again in six months, is waiting for. He doesn't tell me. His registrar tells me that I need surgery and then goes to talk to him and comes back and say that he is more experienced, and he says we should wait, so that is what we will do. My second neurosurgeon has said that we should do a 2 level fusion. This is the same surgery that all the others have said that I need. I do wish I knew why this other surgeon keeps saying I should wait. It is so difficult with that in my mind, and yet not knowing what his thinking is, to make the decision to go ahead with the surgery. Are there plans to try to fix your lumbar spine again Karen? I really hope that they will be able to help you. Take care xx
  • Thinking of you and hoping that your recovery is continuing to go well.
    Keep healing xx
  • Thanks for the great advice! I have been walking small amounts everyday. I will try not to overdo anything. I hope you are doing well and am sending you a big hug back!
    Missy, 1 level ACDF C6/C7 Monday July 16th 2012.

  • Hope those wicked headaches stay away! I will walk today. Hugs back and I hope youre having a good day hon.
    Missy, 1 level ACDF C6/C7 Monday July 16th 2012.

  • Yeah I hear you on the keeping your head straight bit. Hard for me to remember to not twist my head around. Hope you are having a good day!
    Missy, 1 level ACDF C6/C7 Monday July 16th 2012.

  • I feel stiff and really slow but I know this is to be expected. I hope your pain has subsided?

    Hugs and continued healing
    Missy, 1 level ACDF C6/C7 Monday July 16th 2012.

  • thanks honey! I made a new post topic today but wanted to thank you! I am slow but ok. Loll! Have a great day.
    Missy, 1 level ACDF C6/C7 Monday July 16th 2012.

  • Just wanted to tell you thank you for this thread. After receiving the news today that I would most likely need a fusion, I came to this board to read other peoples' stories. Yours might just allow me to sleep, not imagining the worst. Thanks dear, and glad you are doing well!
    "For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead." 2 Corinthians 1:8-9
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