Had 3-Level ACDF fusing C4-C5-C6-C7 on January 8th. Surgery was smooth and I was out of the hospital the next morning, the 9th.
Very little pain but did have the sore throat that went away pretty quickly along with the hoarse voice.
Have been wearing the hard collar pretty much 24/7 and have been VERY careful about not lifting or doing other things I was warned about.
Stopped pain meds and muscle relaxer near the end of the first week. Was generally taking 1 pain tablet at bed time with a relaxer.
Had a reaction to the relaxer (Flexeril) that caused a real issue with my enlarged prostate. Problem went away as soon as I stopped taking the Flexeril. Doctor and pharmacist were perplexed by the Flexeril issue.
Have been sleeping and eating well.
My neck feels very good but I can tell the muscles are weakening with non-use. Looking forward to getting into the physical therapy. Not sure exactly when that will happen.
Very good news on what changed:
1) my numbness in the left hand and arm are gone.
2) before surgery both arms would "go to sleep" many times during the day.... that is also gone.
3) before surgery I had very tense shoulder muscles with dull aching pain that went to the middle of my back ... almost all of that is gone but tends to get slightly worse as the day progresses.
4) I have had a persistent cough for over 20 years that nobody could ever "fix" that disappeared after the surgery. Apparently a nerve exiting around C4 had a link to the diaphragm. This change was unexpected.
5) neck pains are gone but since I have not been moving the neck much I am not sure what to expect when the collar comes off and I start moving things. Now, when I take the collar off, I try not to move my head side-to-side or up-and-down.
My next appointment with the surgeon is this Friday and I am hoping I can either get rid of the collar or at least reduce the use of one. He will do X-rays to see how things are going and I have my fingers crossed but am not expecting any bad news based on how I feel. I expect my lifting restriction will be increased to 20 pounds allowing me to at least get back to doing some light wood working. As I said earlier, not sure when physical therapy will be started
At this point I am very optimistic about the outcome and am looking forward to getting back and doing things. I will take it one day at a time and not rush things. (easy to say, hard to do)
US Army Retired