Hello. This is my first time posting here, although I have been anxiously reading through these posts for the last month. Please accept my sincere "thank you" to those of you who post -- you have given me hope in my darkest hours throughout this bleak April.
Okay, here is my situation -- I am a 42-year-old female -- had my second ACDF on 3 April 2013 in Northern Virginia. My first ACDF was in 2005 -- c5c6 with titanium plate, screws and my own bone -- never had one ounce of trouble with this surgery nor the recovery. The surgeon then mentioned usually when you have the c5c6 "fixed", the c6c7 will probably be next.
Therefore, when that all too familiar pain between my should blade, elbow, neck and hand, reared its ugly head in October 2012 - I thought, no big deal (was bummed out though!). So, as like many of you, I complied with the battery of tests and went to see a new NS (changed insurance, so could not go back to the one who performed the 1st ACDF).
MRI, Xrays, etc. all showed DDD; issues with c6c7. So, I went to PT for two months and felt pretty good. Once I stopped going, the pain came back. So, I scheduled the surgery (PEEK Cage with own bone from discs). My NS works in conjunction with an Ortho Surgeon, so they both operated on me (they both receive high praise in the Washington, DC "Top Doctor" Reports, etc.). All seemed to go well at the INOVA Fairfax (Virginia) Hospital and I returned home on 4 April to my two sons (13, 8) and my husband.
Then the fun began! Had to get off the pain killers in less than a week because they were making me crazy and I could not sleep. I had serious pain in my right should blade (which thankfully went away after two-weeks). My throat felt like I had swallowed a couple golf balls. But, the Ortho and NS all said this is normal and I should not worry about it as it takes time to heal.
Well, here we are one month later. I have not been able to telelwork as I had planned because of this CONSTANT feeling of choking...it drives me mad. I feel this even when I am just watching TV and especially when I first get up in the morning. If I look down, I feel like I am going to pass out. When I moved from the hard collar to the soft collar two week post op, my throat started "snapping" when I swallow as well and I think I feel the plate...just when I thought things could not get worse! So, this is where I am! My body feels pretty good, it is just this throat mess.
I am freaking myself out that this will never go away and I just have to live with it. Not sure how to do that though, because it is pretty darn frustrating and I feel very depressed. The NS and Ortho told me they would see me on 18 and 23 May, respectively. So, I guess until then...I just keep choking? I am on the internet constantly and probably self-diagnose more than I should -- but, who doesn't, right? I am worried that the plate is too big and it is pushing up against my esophagus?; maybe they damaged my throat when they moved everything out of the way?; maybe I have too much scar tissue?? All these questions and no answers.
If you made if through all of this -- I thank you and appreciate you letting me vent. BIG Question - Has anyone else had this? I know that folks have and I am just curious if it ended up going away on its own or did you have to see an ENT? Just desperately wanting to know if there is light at the end of the tunnel...
May 2005- c5c6 acdf (with titanium plate, screws and own bone)
3 April 2013 - c6c7 acdf and removal of the plate at c5c6 (PEEK Cage)