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Hello everyone,

First and foremost, I can't believe I waited this long to come here...been reading many posts about surgeries, pre-op preparation and more and I feel like I hit the jackpot because there's finally someone who can relate to what I am feeling and going through, so thank you in advance for any input you can provide.

I am a 43 yr old female who will be undergoing surgery on Sept 4th for a two level ACDF at C5-6 and C6-7. After almost 4 yrs of pain, numbness, tingling and bilateral Carpal Tunnel Release surgeries, I was referred to a neurosurgeon for a consultation. After having an MRI with and without contrast, I was immediately told I was a candidate for this type of surgery and was terrified. Not only do I have the disc herniation, but I also have a bone spur, some spinal cord injury and a syrinx located in the same area. This has caused numbness that is now reaching my leg and foot. My concern was why such an urgent need for surgery? I was hoping to put this surgery off until next year when I would have more time available to be off from work without having to worry about my financial needs. However, the surgeon and other doctors have advised me to have surgery immediately to avoid the risk of paralysis? Now this really freaked me out!

I am not worried about the actual surgery because I know this doctor has a great reputation and even though he explained the procedure, I am still confused about the actual procedure but more than anything scared and worried about the post-op, recovery and my future. I have no clue what to expect. I have an appointment with the surgeon next week to ask about these questions which should have been asked in previous appointments. I am having severe anxiety as the date gets closer which I am sure is normal but I am trying my best to stay strong and positive. My boyfriend lives with me and will be helping me as will my family who live next door but I don't think they realize the severity of this surgery and the limitations I will be faced with afterwards ;(

In the meantime, any feedback would be greatly appreciate it especially if you have already had this type of surgery. I am also here to be a support buddy for those waiting for surgery. This support group is the best and I hope I can contribute by sharing my experience with others.

Thanks for listening and I look forward to your advice!
Dazed & Confused in LA with C5-C7 ACDF


  • jellyhalljjellyhall Posts: 4,373
    edited 08/25/2012 - 4:52 AM
    I totally understand how scarey this is! I have had a lumbar fusion and can hardly believe that I am now facing a 2 level ACDF.
    I don't have a date yet, and have had several things that have delayed me in getting back to see the neurosurgeon. One of those things is fear! All the other things have now passed, so I will have to gather up my courage and go and talk to him.

    I suggest you read the various articles on this site about the surgery. Have a notebook beside you while you read, and write down your questions as you think of them. Take that list with you when you go to see your surgeon.
    Also posting here on the forum, you will meet lots of people who have had this surgery. Some are in the early stages of recovery and some had it a while ago. Please bare in mind that the people who have problems are an unfair picture of how many people still have pain after surgery. People who still have pain hang around for the support and understanding. There are very many more who recovered and are now back to their busy lives without need to be posting here.

    At the top of the Back and Neck Surgery thread, there is a post op useful things to have list. Do read this, but don't be overwhelmed at how many things are on the list. It is for lumbar surgery too. It will give you some ideas of things to have ready for your recovery, and how to prepare your home.

    You have a good support network to help you after your surgery. That will be very helpful. You will need to be ready to be very patient. If you over do it after surgery, you will flare up your pain. Most of us have learned the hard way that we need to listen to our body and obey the rules given my the surgeon.

    I need to rush off now, but would love to chat more soon. Hopefully more people who have experience of this operation will be along to share their experiences. Joining this site and posting this thread, has set you on a very good start. You will get wonderful support and friendships here from people who know what you are feeling.

  • Believe me, I share your anxiety! I too have ACDF surgery scheduled this month, the 24th. I'm a 60 yer old male with a four level procedure in the works. I've been dealing with this for six years, but beginning last April the symptoms have magnified dramatically. Consequently I finally said enough's enough. I've tried spinal blocks, steroid packs and PT - all with little or no relief. So I'm hopeful this surgery will be my salvation.

    I'm fortunate to be in a situation insurance/employment-wise that will provide me the adequate time needed to recoup. My partner promised to be my nurse for a couple of months, though I'm sure there will be a day when I'll have to repay the efforts.

    I've always been very active physically, in fact I commute to work year-round on a bike for a total of ten miles. My doctor has been positive in reassuring me that if I follow his treatment plan to the letter I have a good chance in time of returning to full activity.

    But you're so right - it's the unknown that opens up the door to those anxious feelings. As you, I have full trust in my doctor, and have faith that all will work out fine. It would be a comfort to be able to follow your progress and share our experiences. I wish you well! (p.s. have you watched any of the ACDF surgical videos on You Tube? They seem fairly straight forward - and cut and dry...sorry) :)
    steve in chicago
  • Thank you so much for your feedback. This is a great site and have been reading extensively about preparation and what to expect and has helped somewhat but now I just want to get rid of the anxiety. I have total faith in the man upstairs and in my doctor, so the surgery itself is not the problem for me.

    Did anyone need special equipment at home like a hospital bed, recliner, etc.?

    I did manage to watch a video of the procedure in the doctor's office but will need to watch more on YouTube.

    Again I truly appreciate all input/feedback.

    Dazed & Confused in LA with C5-C7 ACDF
  • I found having a recliner(s) very helpful. I am lucky to have one in my bedroom and one in my family room. After the ACDF surgery, I slept in the recliner for a few nights. When I then slept in the bed I had pillows shoved behind my back to provide support if I was on my side or under my legs if on my back. My recliners are high enough to support my neck - important. Get a gripper or two to help reach for things. You could ask at your meeting with the surgeon what you will be given to go home with - a walker or shower seat, hard collar or soft collar or none? Definitely look at the "sticky" posts for more suggestions.

    I'd advise to have someone else go to the surgeon's with you to make sure you have all your questions answered. Have a list of questions ready.

    One of the most important things about recovery to me was being patient, listening to my body and following doctor's orders.

    Best of luck.

    4 level ACDF C4-C7 5-2-11, laminectomy & discectomy L4-L5 1/26/12, ALIF L4-5, L5-S1 12/10/12.
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