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ACDF - Recovery Help

About 20 days ago I had a double level ACDF. Right after surgery I seemed to be ok. For the past several days I have found that I cry all the time and barely sleep but feel as if I could pass out all the time. I don't want to get out of bed, I don't want to do anything. It takes a great effort to do anything in my life. Before surgery, i loved to cook and I always kept a very clean home. I enjoyed my work. Now I can't even think to do anything - even eat. I still can't drive or do anything in my home - per dr orders. These feelings are scaring me and I don't know what to do. The dr told me that being emotional is very normal. I don't see how anything about this is normal. Can anyone help or offer the sun at the end of this tunnel?


  • sandisandi Posts: 6,342
    edited 05/01/2014 - 4:56 AM
    Post op depression is so common, so what you are feeling is perfectly normal........we go from a busy, active, functional adult to one who can't do any of the things that we did prior to surgery......recovery from spine surgery is unlike any other surgery recovery you have ever had......it is slow, has set backs, and is physically, mentally and emotionally draining.
    I found that it helped me tremendously to learn something new during my recovery......so I picked up knitting.....I knew how to knit but hadn't touched it in decades, so I started over and made some blankets and other things to occupy myself.....I read books, watched movies that I wanted to see but never had the time for.
    I know that you don't feel like doing it, but in the beginning , you almost have to force yourself......once you find something that you enjoy, it becomes easier.

  • Thank you so much. I actually didn't think that I would be able to crochet because I would be looking down. My husband has been begging for a blanket. Guess it is time to start. Again thank you for your advise and insight.
  • Bnr0914BBnr0914 Posts: 3
    edited 05/01/2014 - 2:52 PM
    I will be honest I was trying like hell to not say I was/am depressed. But I am totally depressed and going crazy. Hopefully, I will be able to move past this.
  • My ACDF was just 5 days ago, and I feel completely useless. I am a nurse, and usually doing for others. I should be happy that my surgery was successful. Instead I feel sad, and don't know what to do with myself. I can't work yet for several more weeks, even light duty ( paperwork, work from home). My kids are both away at college, one recently moved for school and is living with his Dad. So I'm having empty nest syndrome along with these post-op blues. Any advice? My neck and arm feel quite great, considering everything. It's my heart that is disappointed, and this makes no sense!
    DDD, ACDF of C6-7 scheduled for 4/29/14, debilitating radiculopathy from herniated C6-7, putting me on FMLA. Meds= Percocet, flexaril, Valium. Have had neck problems off and on for about 18 years.
    :H :-H :wave:RNDiver
  • I am so sorry to hear this. I hope you guys heal well and continue to flourish in life. I may have to have the same procedure soon. BRN, if you don't mind me saying, perhaps you can consider an anti-depressant in the short-term while you heal.
  • TarenTTaren Posts: 525
    edited 05/06/2014 - 5:27 AM
    I had an ACDF a few years ago( C4, C5 & C6), even though I didn't have the depression afterwards that you all are experiencing, I just wanted to jump in and tell you all that it does get much better. It was rough in the beginning post-op, but after a few weeks, things started looking up & yes, I did see a light at the end of the tunnel. You will soon begin to see this light as well. You guys just had ur surgeries only a short time ago..It is not going to be an "instant Oh, I should be feeling better by now" It takes time, a few weeks, before I was feeling better. Continue to do exactly as your dr's instructed you to do & you will notice before too long that will start to feel better and better & in the end you will realize the the benefits of this surgery :-)
  • and we are suddenly restricted to most everything we enjoy and are used to doing, it leads to too much time to fill, and no what we consider meaningful ways of doing it.....I found that a chair to do some of the things that I did prior to surgery allowed me to get a few things done, and trying to invent new ways around the restrictions gave my mind some excercise which helped.......that does not mean go out and start doing excercises and picking things up that you aren't supposed to, but I found that being able to get out a bit helped to ease the boredom, having friends come visit, and short shopping trips helped ease the boredom and depression.
  • Sorry to hear about your depression. Yes, it is ok to call it what it is. Our lives that race at warp speeds have come to a grinding halt and we find ourselves saying, What now? Do I sit and watch the clock all day, waiting for it to get better ? I have had over 30 surgeries since being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease 25 years ago. Then in 2012 I was hit by a drunk driver which ended my life as a marathoner/triathlete/paramedic/teacher. I had a lumbar fusion 04/2013, then MRSA in 06/2013, ACL repair 10/2013, now will be having ACDF 3 level on 5/28. I still have a torn rotator cuff which keeps getting bumped to the bottom of the list. All since the accident. yes, it sucks

    But we find a way to make lemonade out of lemons. Knowing this was coming, I took a 4 week class in knitting at the local library so I will have a project to work on while home. I have always believed, where there is a Will there is a Way. Sometimes I have gotten myself in trouble with the doc, but hey, you just have to do what you have to do.The internet is great for taking classes, learning a language, or reading a magazine. Our local library has a program that allows you to read any magazine they subscribe to from your device. Don't have to pay for Netflix or Hulu either as "there is an app for that, too" for free.

    Don't misunderstand, I am NOT looking forward to this surgery and antidepressants if necessary, are not a bad thing. I am scared to death after having a hard time with the lumbar fusion. My family doesn't want to hear the "S" word again as I don't live near any of them. My grown son, is tired of seeing mom in the hospital all the time since he was born. But it is what it is and WE WILL GET THROUGH THIS. This is a great site and forum to chat, vent, whatever. No one understands like someone who is experiencing the same thing.

    Sorry for carrying on.........I get verbal diarrhea when I am stressed............Hang in there all.........

    Those of us like RNDiver that are used to doing for others find it quite humbling to have to ask others for help. I live alone and am very independent. But we have to let others experience the joy that we do when we help others and let them help us. It isn't forever, just a couple of weeks.

    ACDF 3 Level 5/28/2014
    PLIF L4/L5/S1 4/2013
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