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ACDF C3-C6 set for 12-3-12

ACDF C3-C6 set for 12-3-12
ACDF surgery upcoming in 4 weeks here in Palm Harbor FL. Kinda nervous about recovery and returning to prior activity level. My neurosurgeon says I will have 15% loss of forward head mobility and good risk for adjacent joints to deteriorate in future. I love to golf and downhill ski and hope I won't be restricted from these recreational activities after fusion takes place.
3 level fusion is serious business and I know its necessary to prevent further myelopathy...Symptoms are right arm radiculopathy and back neck and mid-upper back pain on a scale of about 6.
Any recovering patients lose their abilities to return to non-contact sports/recreation. If so, what and how do you feel about it?
Nuff for now. Awaiting some replies,
ps: thinking of getting a hospital bed for home for the first couple of weeks, what do you say to this??


  • I had my C3/4 and C4/5 fused with plates and screws about 35 days ago. It is one less level than yours, so I don't know what that will be like. I purchased a recliner (which you can rent, too), but if you think a hospital bed will be better for you, than go for it.

    I slept in the recliner for about a week, the sofa for about a week and then I moved a sofa cushion into my bed against the headboard with two sleeping pillows against it and that is how I have been sleeping for the past 30+ days or so.

    Are you wearing a collar at all?

    Honestly, the biggest things that I found important were things like making sure I had a shower head that slid up and down a wall mounted rod. I already had that, fortunately and because I could not get my head/neck/throat wet for a week, it was really helpful, for that first week and longer.

    I lost my voice for more than a month, so while I was in no pain, being able to text and email was really helpful. I didn't want to zone out in front of the tv all of the time, so I play(ed) Words with Friends and Scramble and other games that keep my mind engaged and sharp.

    I have said this in other posts on here - one thing I would recommend - I went to Amazon and downloaded pre and post surgery guided imagery audio recording for $9. I started listening to that a few nights before surgery, placed it on my smart phone and brought that and ear buds to the hospital with me. I listened to it immediately after returning from recovery and whether it is true what they say about guided imagery or not - I had no pain at all and was off morphine after the first day. I never experienced pain - and if it is because of the guided imagery, GREAT! If not, GREAT! (feel free to let me know if you are interested in it. I still listen to the post-surgery audio when I wake up at 2 or 3am and think I cannot get back to sleep. I turn this on and I am out like a light.

    Any pain I felt was from muscle stress at the base of my neck and one of those microwaveable heating pads that wrap around your shoulders continues to be really helpful.

    I was told I would have a the 'sore throat from hell' and I never had one. But, I did have Chloroseptic Max ready, along with throat lozenges, just in case.

    Oh yes - swallowing - MOIST FOODS! I had trouble swallowing for a few weeks - and occasionally even now, as I still wear this collar and recover. Applesauce (to take any meds), little bottles of water, just because they are easier to control that glasses of water. I could not and still cannot easily eat crackers or breads - they would turn into lumps in my throat. Soups, eggs, yogurt - things that slide down and take little effort going down.

    Since you are active, you may want to ask your surgeon if s/he has any objection to you stretching your lower body. I didn't ask, but I am doing it. Nothing dramatic - but holding onto the railing on my deck and stretching my calves and asking if you can raise your hands above your head or bend over - stretching has been REALLY important. I keep my neck still and don't push it, but otherwise, I feel like I am walking like an old lady!

    Feel free to read my post, if you think it would be helpful. I've catalogued the things I did pre-and post, so maybe you will find something helpful.

    Good luck to you! Keep us posted! :)
    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
  • I'm confused. When is the surgery? You give tomorrows date but say it is in 4 weeks. Do you mean january 3rd. If so, you may want to also post on the January surgery buddies thread.

    It is very scary stuff! I am having 4 level on Jan 3rd in Tampa. I will be glad when it gets here as I am very anxious as well.
    4 level ACDF completed on January 3rd.
    I developed an infection which required reopening the wound on January17th
    Looking forward to life without as much pain!
  • Hi there, Pagosa -

    Just checking to see if you made any decisions about the hospital bed?
    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
  • FrancineSFFFrancineSF Posts: 318
    edited 12/02/2012 - 2:56 PM
    I don't want to speak for Pagosa, but it appears he is going in for surgery tomorrow based on an email to me having had pre-op blood work done the other day, so we may not hear from him before he returns.

    He'll correct me if I am wrong. :)
    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
  • No hospital bed; a new electric recliner
    Swollen throat but can swallow without pain
    No new pains and better balance standing on one leg at a time
    Taking Tylenol 3 every six hours and Flexeril twice a day
    Walked an hour yesterday and already 40 mins today
    Have f-up nursing care 3xs per week but really not necessary
    PT came for eval and noted not needed in my case
    Dr has protocol for exercises based on timeline/recovery
    FUP Dr appt next Wed or Thurs
    Wearing Miami collar 24/7 for at least 6 weeks
    Wound dressing removed as incision was glued; no discharge or infection
    Have shower neck brace and have used, quite useful!
    Dr gave me copy of post-op xray, way cool
  • Hi there, Pagosa --

    Sounds like things are going well, all things considered.
    So glad that you are seeing some improvement already!
    I am not sure what the shower neckbrace is - I simply wore my Miami J collar while showering and changed out of the blue pads to let them dry each time.

    I will admit that I am still supposed to be wearing the collar when I shower, but I stopped wearing it about 3 weeks into it. My neck was more stable and my shower is not in a tub, so I am not so concerned about slipping. When I turn to move, I always hold the shower door or wall for balance, but that level of freedom for about 30 minutes or so helps A LOT.

    I sit here typing in my lovely Miami J collar, too. I am now at my 6th week of wearing it. UGH. I go on Tuesday to get an update. He told me initially I will be wearing it for 3 months, so we will see if he still wants that when I go see him.

    I am soooo happy to hear that you are doing well!
    I will get a copy of my x-ray when they take one on Tuesday. I will update my picture/x-ray here with the new one with the hardware then. :)

    Keep us posted!
    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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