I just wanted to follow up with my progress -- I had an ACDF at the c6/7 level last Tuesday, October 14th. Prior to the operation, I had struggled with a herniated disc and foraminal stenosis, the later of which was causing me an enormous amount of pain.
The associated back/arm pain that came with the stenosis had vanished once I'd woken up from the anesthesia. Obviously I was a little sore after the surgery and also found it somewhat difficult to swallow food (I could swallow spit just fine, so don't worry about that). The anesthesia also gave me a massive migraine which I was not surprised by because that's happened to me before.
The doctor let me out of my neck brace yesterday after my post-op. My activities are still restricted until the 12 week mark.
Right now I have a pain level of about 0 without any sort of medication. My muscle weakness bounced back rather quickly, too -- its not 100% but its definitely better. My neck feels a little stiff and once in a while I get a very brief, very mild burst or twinge of nerve pain, but other than that I'm feeling pretty excellent.
I think it's still to soon to call, but based on my experience so far, I think I would recommend this procedure to anyone suffering a similar ailment.
I think what I am struggling with right now is the anxiety/paranoia that the pain is going to come back. It scares the hell out of me, and I think that part is just going to take time for that to resolve.
I'll continue to post in this thread so that it can serve as a personal record and also as a possible reference for others who are looking down the same path as I was.