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November 2012 Surgery Buddies

jellyhalljjellyhall Posts: 4,373
edited 01/21/2014 - 4:39 AM in Surgery Buddies
Well, today I have booked my 2 level ACDF!
No-one can say that I have rushed into this!

Are there any others that are also having a surgery in November?
Mine is booked for 5th November.

I'm sure that I will be here asking lots of questions over the next few weeks.



  • I'm scheduled for November 7- so we are pretty close.

    I'm having a five level fusion C3-T1. Posterior cervical laminectomy with fusion. Going to have pretty blue rods lol. The extrusions are squeezing my spinal cord, so I have dizziness, numbness, loss of motor control etc. I will be in a collar for 3 months - fun times. I'm have been suffering with this for about 10 years, so like you, I did not rush into this. My feet and legs getting numb scared me into it! I am HAPPY I'm doing this! There will be a whole new person after I heal, and maybe I can have a life again! I love my surgeon and pain management docs- how do you feel about yours?

  • jellyhalljjellyhall Posts: 4,373
    edited 10/14/2012 - 4:16 AM
    I am glad that someone else has joined this thread! I was beginning to feel rather lonely. Lol!

    I have had a long journey to get to this place.
    My neck has given me pain for a very long time. Even when I was 20 I used to get pain in it for a couple of weeks and then it would settle down for a few months and then the pain would be back. At that time I was also having some pain in my lower back. I never really thought that there was anything wrong and didn't mention it to any medical doctors.

    In 2008, while on a romantic weekend in Madrid, I became aware that there must be something wrong with my back. By the end of the weekend I could hardly walk for more than 5 minutes and after standing still for a couple of minutes I would want to sit down. Our last day in Madrid, we spent the day sat in a cafe, drinking coffee.

    It was found that I had quite a problem with my lumbar spine and the doctor was amazed that I had carried 3 pregnancies without my condition being diagnosed. I had a grade 2 spondylolisthesis which was starting to tilt over the lower vertebra, taking the rest of my spine with it. At that time I did have problems in my neck, and the surgeon said that the symptoms in my neck and arms would not be helped by the lumbar fusion with laminectomy that he was going to do. He said that those symptoms were coming from my neck, and that we would fix that next!! I assumed that he was joking and didn't take much notice of him.

    My lumbar fusion was in March 2010 and gave much relief to the awful sciatica I was getting in both legs. I was told that I would still always have pain in my back, and that has been the case. I can enjoy life and be much more active now though, and would say the surgery was a success.

    Just after my lumbar fusion, my neck seemed to get worse. I had worse pain and it was much more frequent. 5 months after the surgery I was referred to have my neck and daily pain and problems investigated. I have 2 discs and bony spurs that are compressing and indenting my cord. These are the levels that I will be having fused. The rest of my neck is also very degenerated and I have nerve root compression at every level bilaterally from C4 to C7. I have been warned that I may need a laminectomy from the back afterwards, but that we will see how much relief I get from the ACDF first.

    Your surgery will be much more invasive than mine. Apart from having more levels fused, surgery from the back of the neck is generally harder on the patient than surgery from the front.

    My surgeon is very minimalistic! I will have titanium interbody cages, with no plate or screws and no graft material. I will not need to wear a collar after leaving hospital. We talked a bit about this, and he said that 10 years ago he would have used bone from my hip with a plate and screws but that he has good success with this method. Apparently the 'teeth' in the implant will hold the cage in place while my neck is fusing. I have found someone else who had an identical surgery at the same hospital, but with a different surgeon. I have also read quite a bit on it on the internet, and I trust this surgeon.

    Because I have so many symptoms all over the place, neck, shoulders, arms, elbows, wrists, hands, legs, ankles and feet as well as around my abdomen, I have had many tests to see what is causing them and to rule out MS and some other neurological conditions. I do have 3 herniated discs in my thoracic spine, two of which are mildly touching my cord, so some of my symptoms are probably coming from that.

    I have been very confused and frustrated by lots of my appointments, but now feel that this surgeon is good and he explains what he is seeing and thinking. I have confidence in him and now have peace about going forward with this surgery.

    Have you had any other spinal surgery? Have you tried other conservative treatments to help your pain?

    Here's to us both having a successful surgery and a smooth recovery. We will be able to support each other as we go through this. I see that you are new to Spine Health, so welcome. This is a great place to get information about your spine problems and the treatment. Also there are lots of very friendly people who are willing to share their stories. Knowing that you are not alone is a great comfort when you have difficult days. Your positive attitude will go a long way to getting you back to your life.

  • I wanted to take a quick minute and wish you luck and a speedy recovery. You never missed an opportunity to send me positive thoughts and heatfellt advice while I was struggling with my own. I reently went through my old posts around the time of my surgery, and I owe you an apology for never offering my gratitude. I think I was much more incoherant around that time than I knew. You are so well prepared and knowledgable, so advice I dont have...but I have an abundance of goodwill to send your way. Please keep us informed as you walk this jorney! I believe you will be a success and pray you get some relief! Peace to you and yours, Ellen
    3 level fusion L3-S1 July 23, 2012
  • jellyhalljjellyhall Posts: 4,373
    edited 10/14/2012 - 10:29 AM
    for your good wishes :o)

    I will be telling the head at the school where I work tomorrow about my surgery. I don't think she will be at all pleased, but I need to get on with this and be on the other side of it. The timing is actually quite good as far as the children are concerned because I will work up until half-term and then will be off until February next year.

    I hope to get some relief too Ellen.:) :-) :
    I have been told that I will probably be left with some of my symptoms, but the surgeon believes I should get some relief and it should stop the progression of cord damage. I have had symptoms from problems in my neck for about 2 and a half years. An MRI done 2 years ago showed cord compression, so it is time to get it sorted!

    I hope that you are now feeling well underway in your recovery. It is a long journey, but if you are patient and careful, you should find that you will get there in the end. xx

    I really value your prayers - thank you xx

  • Hi Jellyhall

    I'm having an L5/S1 fusion on November 7th. Not the same surgery, but close in timing. I'll look forward to keeping up on your recovery as I do the same. Good luck!

  • I had a lumbar fusion of L4/5 in 2010.
    My surgery was successful and gave me a lot of relief from the awful pain I was in. You are going to need to be patient but I think it will be worth it once you are fully recovered.
    Do ask any questions that you have, and have you looked at the list of useful items to have for after surgery? There are lots of helpful things on that list. Have you got someone to help you at home when you first get home from the hospital?
    My husband made a fantastic nurse and will be taking some time off work this time to help me again. :o)

    We will be able to support each other through the recovery, which can drag on.
  • Hi Jellyhall,

    Thank you for the encouragement and useful items list. I am making sure I'm prepared, and I have my husband taking time off work to help me, too.

    Here's to both of us having successful surgery and recovery!
  • jellyhalljjellyhall Posts: 4,373
    edited 10/22/2012 - 7:01 AM
    is your surgery from the front (anterior) or back (posterior)?
  • jellyhalljjellyhall Posts: 4,373
    edited 10/23/2012 - 12:55 AM
    I have just had an up to date MRI scan of my neck, so the surgeon had a recent scan to use. The others he was looking at were 12 months and 2 years old.

    Well, I am not trained to view MRI scans, but to me it looks like the two levels below where I am to have the 2 level ACDF are quite a bit worse than a year ago. I will be interested to hear what he says. I hope he won't say that he needs to fuse more levels!! I think that it is mostly the ligament behind the cord that is pinching those lower levels. He did say that he may need to do another surgery from the back afterwards. Perhaps this is what he was seeing and now it has got worse, I can see it too.

    Next Tuesday I have my pre-op assessment. Then almost another week and it will be surgery day!!
    This is a new hospital for me and they say on the day of my pre-op tests I can be shown around and see the HDU where I will start my recovery.

    Michelle and Colleen, I hope that you are both keeping well and staying calm.
    I actually have a sore throat today, but there is time for it to go!!
  • coastirishccoastirish Posts: 19
    edited 10/23/2012 - 9:34 AM
    Hi Jellyhall,

    I'll be having an ALIF with posterior pins/screws. I hope your sore throat is all gone by surgery time. Stay well!
  • So you are having what they call a 360 fusion; from the front and the back.
    Thanks for the good healing wishes. I hope it will be gone soon. At the moment it is making me feel unwell all over. I have just got 3 more days of work this week, and then it will be 1/2 term at the school where I work. I have been called to a pre-absence meeting tomorrow!
  • Here to send well wishes and good vibes your way. What is the recovery time like, what kind of movement restrictions will be placed on you?

    My surgery (360 degree fusion at L5/S1) for scheduled for November 29. I have a friend who is undergoing a truly gnarly hip surgery (I believe her doctors told her she'd be on bed rest for 6 - 8 weeks after); hers is November 12.

    Now is the time to focus on being positive, preparing for life immediately after the surgery (I'm practicing with a grabber), and looking forward to better days.

    Be well, all of you!
  • jellyhalljjellyhall Posts: 4,373
    edited 10/24/2012 - 11:27 AM
    You just made me smile with the thought that you are practising with a grabber. :D
    I did that before my lumbar fusion in 2010. I used to play a game with my granddaughter where we had to do a course of moving stuff using the grabber.
    After my surgery, I hid the Easter eggs for the hunt using my grabber.
    I had forgotten all about that. I guess I should get it down from the loft and start practising again.
    My surgery is on 5th November - 2 level ACDF C3/4 and C4/5

    I have been told that I will need to have 3 months off work and that the restrictions will be similar to my lumbar fusion, ie no bending, lifting anything very heavy (didn't give a weight limit) or twisting. He did warn that using a laptop will cause pain in my shoulders and neck, so I won't want to do that.

    Glad that you found us.

    There is another 360 patient for November, that I have invited to join this thread. Also, I believe that Colleen (coastirish) is a 360 surgery.

  • Hi Jellyhall, Glad I got on here to check up on some things..I haven't been on in awhile :( I am recovering well so far.. but I send you a message on what is going on with me now. I will know more on Nov 7 as you should be home recovering. I hope that you do not have to have front and back incisions. Mine was all in the front. If you can't remember some of my issues and tips I will be glad to share them with you again. With a 2 level hopefully your recovery will go smoothly :) and not have to wear the collar for what seemed like a eternity for me, lol Keep lots of fluids near by and avoid bread! I also kept a pillow behind my head while sitting up for support. I will be thinking of all of you thru your surgeries. just remember to not rush your recovery and to take it easy. If any of you have any ?'s you can send me a private message and I will be glad to help. I will be facing my lower back surgery prob. sometime late Dec. I will find that out here in a few weeks and what all he has to do. God Bless you all and prayers for you and your team of Drs.
  • Lovely to hear from you again :H :-H :wave:

    Yes, please do send your tips again. All helpful hints and ideas are gratefully received.
    I don't think that I will be wearing a collar.
    I had an MRI scan last week, and haven't heard what the surgeon thought of it, but I have viewed it and it looks like the two levels below the ones he intends to fuse are now much worse. (My previous MRI scan was a year old.) I don't have an appointment with him, only my pre-op assessment and then my surgery day.

    I will just have to trust his judgement - he is the expert.

    Interesting that you say to avoid bread! Is it hard to swallow?
    I have a very good selection of pillows - I am a collector!!
    Sorry to hear that you will be needing a lower back surgery.
    Thanks for your prayers - all gratefully received. xxx
  • Hey guys getting my surgery done on November 20 infusion on L4-L5 it level 1 because I am scared because I never have had anything done like this before but I have had this issue for 6 years time to get this fixed
  • Great to see these forums getting used and people encouraging each other!! Its such a trying time, its so nice to see people being positive.

    I'm scheduled for a PLIF on 02 November. Had a microdiscectomy about 2 years ago, was awesome until a major relapse. As well as being active on here, I'm setting up a blog to document the recovery and try and put a more positive story out there - there's so much negativity!! it should also give me something to do!!


    Love to hear from anyone on it
    PLIF L5 S1
  • thepretendertthepretender Posts: 36
    edited 10/27/2012 - 7:16 PM
    Joining the November 2012 surgery club too. High five everyone!

    (this is a group I don't want to be in but I'm happy to not be alone!)

    I'm going to be having a redo fusion of the l4/l5.

  • What is the date of your surgery?
    Is it anterior or posterior?
    Hopefully this time it will be successful for you and you will be able to get back to your life afterwards.
  • Hollywood and Carlton Fordy.
    Glad that you found us.
  • Not a great couple of days. Surgery delayed by week!! Sooo not happy.

    I have been pushing to get it done ASAP, because my wife is due with our first child in March, and I want to be up and about helping her in her last months, and with the bub when it arrives. Everyday delayed is a day less of surgery.

    It looks like we're all still a day or two off surgery - how's everyone doing? my nerves are ramping up a bit, as is the pain!!
    PLIF L5 S1

  • That must be very frustrating Fordy.
    I had my pre-op testing yesterday and my blood pressure was too high for an anaesthetic. I think it was stress caused by fear!! I have to now take my blood pressure several times a day for a few days, recording what each reading is. The reading are much lower now, and I hope that the surgery will go ahead on Monday. If not I will have to delay and take tablets to get the bp down to a safe level for the surgery.

    I know that I would be not happy to have to delay it.
    I have taken so long to get to this point of arranging the surgery (2 years!) that I want to get on with it and be on the other side of recovery!

    Have they said why they have delayed the surgery Fordy?
  • jellyhalljjellyhall Posts: 4,373
    edited 10/31/2012 - 11:07 PM

    Well, we are now into November!!
    How is everyone doing?

    BoneyM / Mike, you are going to start the ball rolling with your surgery tomorrow.
    I was wondering if you asked the hospital about any pre-op testing, and what they said.
    I hope that your day isn't going to be too busy today and that you will be able to relax this evening. Have something your really enjoy to eat, and stay calm (if you can!)

    Hope that your surgery goes to plan and that you will get good pain relief afterwards.
    We'll be here waiting to hear how you get on, once you are able to make a post.

  • MagooMMagoo Posts: 6
    edited 11/01/2012 - 4:52 PM
    Hello all I am new to the site and thanks Jellyhall for inviting me to this forum. I will be glad to have some others to chat to as I am not ashamed of saying I am sh*t scared about my surgery but am also positive in that hopefully in the long run I will be pain free in my legs and hips.
    It will take me some time to catch up on all the posts so forgive me if I ask some questions that have already been answered.
  • Jellyhall can you tell me where to find the useful items list as I have received no information about this from the hospital or my surgeon. It would be greatly appreciated.
  • jellyhalljjellyhall Posts: 4,373
    edited 11/01/2012 - 11:32 PM
    The link below will take you to the post-op must have list. I must point out that the list contains items both for lumbar and cervical surgery, so you won't need everything. It is very L o n g, but please don't be daunted by it. Just reading it will give you an idea of things that will help you after your surgery.

    I would say that after my lumbar fusion I found a grabber essential, (I actually bad 3, one upstairs, one downstairs and one in the bathroom. I borrowed 2)
    plenty of pillows to get comfortable,
    I had a shower stool which was helpful because you will feel very weak in the early days.
    I had suction grabber rails in strategic places over the bath as my shower is over the bath.
    I also had a step to help getting out of the bath. Getting in wasn't too bad, but when getting out, the ground level was lower than the bottom of the bath.
    My shower has a moveable shower head which was very useful. If you haven't got one, I think that would be helpful.
    I had a lower silk/satin sheet that really did help me to turn over in bed.
    Laxatives will almost certainly be needed in the early stage of recovery.


    In the long and boring recovery after spinal surgery, it is great to be able to chat with others who are going through the same thing. It can be very reassuring to know that you are not alone in this.

    What levels are you having fused?

    Take care,

  • Getting more nervous as the day's get closer and I'm hoping for the best outcome.
    XLIF 2-4 on 11-20-2012
  • jellyhalljjellyhall Posts: 4,373
    edited 11/02/2012 - 7:36 AM
    Glad that you have found us, and decided to post.
    Welcome to Spine Health! This site is full of information about various spinal problems and their treatments. It is also a great place to meet a bunch of friendly people who understand the pains and frustrations of spinal problems and will be happy to share their stories and listen and support you through this ordeal.

    Ask any questions you may have.
    I had a PLIF and decompression of L4/5 2 and 1/2 years ago. It is not the same surgery, but a similar recovery.

    I am having a neck fusion on Monday!

  • Thanks jellyhall, I found it! The extensive list of post-op needs will be very helpful. Thanks again for you kindness and direction. Good luck with your surgery and stay in touch please.
  • Thanks for your good wishes for my surgery on Monday.

    Perhaps you could say here what surgery you are having and when. Although I know, the others on this thread may not have read your other post.

    I am going to a party this evening at one of our neighbours' houses. It is strange because a few days before my lumbar fusion surgery over 2 years ago I was at a party at his house.

    When my husband got home from work today and passed on good wishes from several of his work colleagues, it really sunk in that it is only a couple of days away. Eeeeekkkk!

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