still difficulty walking after ACDF for compressed spinal cord
Since the beginning of the year I'd had increasing weakness in my legs and left arm, muscle spasms, and stiffness. I had severe pain in my back between my shoulder blades and eventually pain in my neck. After several MRIs and 3 different doctors it was diagnosed that the disk between C5-6 was bulging and pressing against my spinal cord. By this time I had extreme loss of balance and muscle weakness in my legs and left arm and was using a cane to walk. I had several falls which damaged my knees. I had ACDF surgery on Aug 27. I was in the surgical hospital 2 days and then transferred to a rehab hospital for 8 days where I received physical and occupational therapy. I used a walker since the surgeon stressed I needed no more falls until my neck was fused. I was in a soft collar for about 3 weeks. I had been told before surgery that there were no guarantees about how much strength and movement I would get back but that the surgery was needed before my spinal cord ended up further damaged. Now, over 2 months after surgery, I have made little progress and have actually lost more strength. My right arm/hand is now affected and almost as weak as the left. I use a walker at work and out of the house, a cane inside. I have major stiffness in my legs and pain and weakness throughout my back. My employers have let me take it easy at work but I am completely wiped out when I get home. I have great difficulty getting in and out of my car. I have to be very careful where I sit because I will be unable to get back up. I have intermittant incontinence as I did before the surgery. I go to physical therapy 1 to 2 times a week, they want me to come 3 times but I am wiped out trying to get there after work and have no one to drive me. The therapists are very encouraging and tell me to be patient but so far I see no progress. At home I try to move around as much as possible but it saps every ounce of strength I have to to shower and dress and cook a meal and do a little laundry. I can't do my own hair. Many days I can't put on my own socks and shoes and have trouble buttoning my clothes. Now all of a sudden I am having trouble using/holding my toothbrush or a fork or spoon. X-rays show everything looks good in my neck. The bones aren't fused but are fusing. But nobody can seem to answer my questions about is all this normal for this period of time or why I'm experiencing sudden weakness and uncoordination in my right arm. I must admit I am a little scared. I am 47 and there are so many things I want to do but as the days go by I find myself more exhausted and able to do less and less.