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Hi Everyone - Posterior Instrumented Fusion (C5 - T2)

Jonny ZeroJonny Zero Posts: 69
edited 03/15/2014 - 10:39 AM in New Member Introductions
Hello All and thank you all for this amazing site!

I am 2 months post surgery and I suppose I just want to come out here to introduce myself and my situation to those that are willing to hear me out. I'm not even 100% sure as to what was done to me. I know it is a Posterior Intrumented Fusion where rods+screws were placed from C5 - T2 with my own bone grafts, but I have a lot to learn about this as I am very green and have been so doped up on meds that I can't remember half of what has been said to me! Perhaps that is exactly what it is and all there is to know, but please offer me anything you know if there is indeed more to know!

I was an every day, normal 39 year old guy in good shape (6'1 and 195 lbs) with 2 young kids just trying to provide for my family. One morning on my way to work, I was involved in a car accident. A woman turned into me and I t-boned her @ 55 kms/hr and then veered into oncoming traffic directly into a bus. The end result was a fracture to 2 of my vertebrae (c6 + c7). My C7 was crushed. Apparently a piece of bone was compressed up against a nerve so I am now left with nerve damage (a left arm + hand that doesn't work properly and both remain weak). I'm very lucky that that jagged piece of bone didn't cut its way in. A bruised brain / concussion are things I am dealing with as well. My shoulders and left arm ache 24/7, I am weak and get tired super easy, I see double sometimes, I'm off balance, I'm constantly in pain w/ headaches despite the levels of meds I'm taking, I'm nauseated almost all the time, loud noises bother me, I have massive pain at the base of my skull that shots into my brain (sometimes), I can only stay on my feet for up to 10 mins at a time (my head feels like it weighs a thousand pounds) and it is very hard to sit upright. I also still have swelling 2 months post surgery. I only find comfort laying in my lazyboy or on my bed flat. Is this all normal and what am I to expect in the coming months? I'm not sure I can afford to be home more than 3-4 more months (IRB = $400/week)

Last week, I saw my Neurosurgeon for my first follow up appointment. I was advised that it is healing nicely, but I am to keep my brace on for another 5 weeks (12 weeks total) as it is not healed 100%. I'm assuming the fusing will take much longer? Maybe that is what he meant? You'd think the fractures would be healed 100% by now? He is a hard Surgeon to get a hold of.... I hate our health care system up here in Canada!!!! He said that he wanted me to take the brace off at home and emulate my neck. He wants me to move it around and get the muscles back into shape again... Everything is so stiff. When I look at myself in the mirror, I look so twisted and out of place. It is very discouraging. My neck muscles are unbelievably tight and swollen. Is this all normal so far? I don`t know how I am going to manage to get my neck looking normal again... My neck is stuck out and my shoulders seem to be stuck back. The rods must be doing this? Can I train the top of my neck and bottom portion of it to handle the new hardware? I have a good 6-8 inches of rod in there with 4 screws on each side. Have a look at my image!

I am on Morphine - (MS Contin 30MG twice a day) + Oxycocet (325Mg/5mg) as needed for pain.... I do still feel pain even when medicated, so I am curious as to how much pain there really is based on what I feel at this kind of dosage. I am also on Lyrica for nerve pain + Nortryptiline as a sleeping pill/anti depressant. The Lyrica seems to work well as initially, the burning + shooting pain was destroying my entire being. It was like being electrocuted every waking moment.

I thank god that I am not paralyzed or even dead. All my prayers and emotions go out to the ones that are worse off than I am. I think of how much worse it could have been and I hope to attend some sort of support group surrounding this one day...

Thanks for reading. I`m happy to be a a part of something again!

Chris

PS I have been seeing a PT and MT twice a week since mid January.

image
4 Level (C5-T2) Posterior Instrumented Fusion w/ Decompression (Car Accident in January 2014)
And I can't forget that I'm not ashamed, to be the person that I am today.
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Comments

  • Jonny ZeroJonny Zero Posts: 69
    edited 03/15/2014 - 10:40 AM
    Thanks for the FAQ links!!!
    4 Level (C5-T2) Posterior Instrumented Fusion w/ Decompression (Car Accident in January 2014)
    And I can't forget that I'm not ashamed, to be the person that I am today.
  • Jonny ZeroJonny Zero Posts: 69
    edited 03/15/2014 - 10:41 AM
    Very informative!
    4 Level (C5-T2) Posterior Instrumented Fusion w/ Decompression (Car Accident in January 2014)
    And I can't forget that I'm not ashamed, to be the person that I am today.
  • Wow, that was some accident and yes , you are lucky to be alive and not paralyzed, so you have much to be grateful for.....it is still very early days for you in the recovery process post op......two months is hardly a drop in the bucket, since the entire fusion process can take up to a year or more before it is complete, however, based on what your surgeon told you, you are doing quite well.....
    A very important part of the recovery process for all of us having had back surgery is the restrengthening and learning to reuse the muscles and tendons again that were out of use for so long,. Being in the collar for three months can and will continue to weaken the muscles in your neck, which is why your surgeon is telling you that it is important for you to work on strengthening the muscles. It will help reduce the swelling and increase both your endurance, and overall strength, and aid in increasing your mobility over time. It is really important that you only do the excercises that the surgeon has permitted you to do, and no more.
    As far as the shoulder and arm pain, that may improve over time, as the nerves heal from the insult from surgery. Anytime that a nerve is irritated, you get stinging, burning, electrical zaps types of pain......that is where the lyrica really helps to ease that......
    As far as the clicking goes, it could just be the hardware when you are attempting to move your neck around.....mine does that occassionally but I have hardware in my lower back and I can hear it click from time to time. It was especially noticable to me in the early days, because it was a new sound, now, I don't often hear it anymore.
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