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new to spine-health

Hi Y'all!

I am a 53 yr old man from the Midwest. I had an acdf with instrumentation at c6-7. I am 5 weeks post-op and so far am glad I had the surgery. A little background. I am a truck driver and do a lot of heavy lifting. On Jan. 4th of this year I woke up on the weekend with a sore, stiff neck. I figured I probably strained it at work or by helping my daughter move a couple of days previous.The next day the pain was much worse. I noticed when I tried to do my usual pushup routine I could barely do three because of the weakness in my right triceps. I saw my pcp and he ordered an emg which showed nerve impingement at c6-c7 level. My doc then ordered an mri which confirmed a herniated disk at c6-7. My doc then referred me to a neurosurgeon. I had to wait almost a month to get in to see him. While I waited on my appt. with the surgeon the pain was getting worse. It was a horrible nerve pain that started between my shoulder blades and radiated to my upper right arm. I was also having muscle spasms in my shoulder under my right arm and in my triceps.When I saw the neurosurgeon I was floored when he told me surgery was my only option in his opinion. He told me the herniation was very large and compressing my spinal cord. I knew from a couple of friends who had used my surgeon that he usually favored a conservative approach. But still I wanted another opinion. I saw another neurosurgeon who also said that because of the size of the herniation and my other symptoms that surgery was my best option. I made an appt. for surgery in two weeks which was March 6th with my original surgeon. While waiting for my surgery I noticed some tingling and numbness in my groin. I also noticed my right index finger and thumb were starting to get numb. Since the start of my symptoms I was living on vicodin and ultram. As afraid as I was of the surgery I was more afraid of ending up with more problems or becoming paralyzed. I had my surgery on March 6th around 8:30 am and woke up with very little pain. The surgery took about an hour. My main complaint was difficulty swallowing. After I got to my room I slept most of the day. In the evening I felt well enough to eat a small meal and I had some visitors. That night I slept on and off as well as you can in a hospital. The next morning I woke up very weak but in little pain. My surgeon came by to check on my progress and told me that if I met his goals for the day I could go home later that afternoon. After breakfast the nurse took out my catheter and I was able to go to the bathroom under my own power. My pain was being controlled so the occ. therapist took me for a walk and showed me how to get in and out of bed and a chair and how to handle stairs. After lunch someone from a medical supply store came and fitted me with my Aspen neck brace. Later that day I was released from the hospital. I was really surprised to be going home that fast. The first few days at home were kind of difficult but I had my daughter with me while my fiancé went to work. The difficulty swallowing was probably the worst part the first week, so I had a lot of yogurt,soup and applesauce on hand. I took a shower with some assistance a couple of days after being home. I just made sure I didn't let the water hit my incision directly. I stopped taking pain meds after about 5 days and the muscle relaxer after about 2 weeks.I started to take short walks inside the house and by the third day I was walking outside.My incision was completely healed at 4 weeks. As I had mentioned I am now 5wks. post-op and I feel blessed that I am doing as well as I am. I am walking about 3 miles a day now. The most difficult part of my recovery is the boredom and wearing the neck brace 24/7 and not being able to drive. I guess my surgeon is very conservative so I will have to wear my brace for 7 more weeks! After 12 weeks I can start physical therapy for a month then I hope I can go back to work. I am very happy so far with the outcome of my surgery and I am glad I had it done. I was wondering if there are any truck drivers out there that had this surgery, and if you were able to go back to your old job? God Bless.


  • tina coylettina coyle Posts: 125
    edited 04/10/2013 - 6:44 AM
    It sounds like every thing is really going well for you after surgery, i have had C6/C7 done in 2011 but i have at lot of spinal problems and have had most of my C spine done so i cant give you the answer you are looking for but i hope it all gose well for you. You have came to the right site for addvice some one will know, takecare.
  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    I am sure that you will find your time on Spine-Health very rewarding. This site is a powerful and integrated system that is dynamic and continues to grow.
    Here are just some of the highlights:

    - Detailed medical libraries of Articles and Videos that address almost every Spinal Conditions and Treatment

    - The Wellness section contains articles, tips and videos to help patients after surgery and also to help people avoid surgery.

    - Under the Resource tab, there is a section Doctor Advice Health Center which can be invaluable.

    - As a bonus, Spine-Health provides these patient forums. Here is where you can meet thousands of other people who understand and can relate to your situation. You will soon become part of the Spiney family who provide comfort and the advantages of a Support System. You are now part of this family that is approximately 20,600 International members and growing daily.

    - It is very important to understand the Forum Rules to make sure all of your posts do not violate any of the rules.

    - As a new member, it is helpful to understand the 'makeup' of these forums, how to make posts, tips on adding images and much more. You should read Forum FAQ

    If you have any questions or need assistance, you can use the Private Message facility to contact any one of the Moderators on my team:
    dilauro , tamtam or liz

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
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