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C3/4 C4/5 Anterior Cervical Fusion next Friday....

FrancineSFFFrancineSF Posts: 318
edited 10/18/2012 - 12:20 PM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hello. I am new to this site and to this forum. I've always been pretty healthy, until 2.5 years ago when out of nowhere, I felt the electrical pulses going down the back of my neck to my fingers in my left hand. After an epidural didn't help, it's time for a fusion. There is a constant dull pain at the base of my neck and the fingers of my left hand are always bordering on numb and tingly. I know it is not going to get better.

I did check things out and it was determined that I C3/4 and C4/5 will need to be fused. I got three opinions - all different and finally decided on Dr. Robert Byers in Greenbrae, CA (Marin, CA). His approch is not the most extreme - it's right down the middle. (What is wonderful about him is that not only does he have the experience, etc - but how many surgeons spend 2.5 HOURS with you - TWICE (the first time 2.5 years ago and then again last week when it was time to make a decision to move forward - to go over things, before the surgery?)

I have to be honest, while I am expecting discomfort, etc - having read a number of the posts, many of which have been incredibly helpful, I am a bit more concerned than I was previously. So many are posting enduring pain and other problems long after their surgery, while I know I have no choice and I know there are risks, and I am pretty logical and stoic - I am now getting concerned more than before reading all of this. (Of course, I can turn off the computer, but I want to make sure that I have all of the info I need, too - trying to be a responsible patient. :))

One thing I have noticed throughout most of the postings, is that my surgeon wants me in one of those hard Miami J collars for 3 MONTHS and on here, I have not seen anyone with the hard collar on for that long. This is going to take me away from work for that length of time, not to mention that I HATE things around my neck. This is going to be very challenging. Has anyone else experienced their surgeon wanting a hard collar on for this length of time? From all he has told me, my neck problems are not extraordinary, thank goodness.

He has also just recommended a bone growth stimulator and I am while I did look in that forum, I thought I would ask here about people's experience with that? I am a little concerned (and have noted it to ask my surgeon) - because I have a bone spur at C7 which has autofused, and it is not causing swallowing problems, so after lengthy discussion, he is not going to remove it. But, if I have the bone growth stimulator on, isn't it going to stimulate the bone spur to grow? (again, I will be asking him this question, but I only found out yesterday about the stimulator.)

I have already gotten many things in place (pulled out button down shirts, moved plates and cups onto the counter, bought myself a recliner and a new robe (a woman's got to do what a woman's got to do), bought Chloroseptic because everyone keeps saying how painful it is to swallow after surgery and even copied the surgery list that someone was kind enough to post.

Maybe more people are posting here because they are having issues, but I have to say I am more concerned that before.
Fortunately, I am generally calm and plan to be a good patient, but I know there will be several things outside of my control, too.

Thanks for letting me type this - if anyone has words of wisdom, I am open to them. :)

Francine
10/26/2012 ACDF C3/4 C4/5 surgery
No pain; no pain meds - thank goodness!
04/01/2013 - 5 months + 1 week - FUSED
Doing some physical therapy for even better range of motion
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