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Things to know before and after Cervical dissectomy

DminchDDminch Posts: 1
edited 01/27/2015 - 7:47 PM in Recovering from Surgery
Hi! I'm new and finding it hard to find the right subject forum to enter.
But I want to share my journey.

Before surgery:
Summer of 2010, I delivered my 2nd baby girl and had neck pain after.
Two months later I could not stand it so I saw Dr. ( that's a story in itself)?
Got MRI which showed two herniated discs. (C4/5 & C5/6)
Saw Neurosurgeon who recommended all kinds of stuff, but mostly surgery.
I tried PT. Helped a while but unless I was going 3 + times a week it hurt again.
After one year of PT it stopped helping. It hurt more than it helped.
I tried Chiropractor, and was continuing it until Dec of 2014. It helped the pain but only temporarily.
Decided to get another MRI to see if I can do something else.
At MRI reading, Neurosurgeon STRONGLY suggested surgery because one disc was almost completely pinching into my spinal cord and I could become paralyzed.
I freaked out inside and said lets do the surgery.
I had two weeks to prepare.
*To anyone who has not yet had surgery*
You need to educate yourself going into this. I wish I knew about this website.
I wish my Dr. Would have told me this was not easy peasy.

Surgery went well said Dr.
I was in and out of consciousness for much of the day, but remember crying about the severe pain I was in.
My meds were changed and the first two days in the hospital were HARD.
I had birthed two children and this was more painful and much harder than that.
Day 3 I felt my pain was better managed. I had a ton of meds and thank God my husband kept track because I was very confused. ( I think a side effect of meds)
I could get up from bed and urinate. That was about all.
After taking a trial walk down the hall, my muscles in my neck started to shake. It was weird.
I was told it was my muscles reacting.
Day 3 I was sent home.

Beware- the ride could be bumpy and boy is that NOT so fun.
Week One-
Mostly slept and stayed in bed.
My activity level was way low, like lifting a spoon to my mouth.
I was on soft foods because my throat still hurt. But my voice was ok.
*Something I researched and you should know*
Broth, especially bone broth and a high protein and calcium diet is a good idea. You body is working overtime to heal.
I felt hot (which never happens to me) and tired. Listen to your body! Sleep. And make sure you have help.
Week Two-
Very similar to week one
Had soft collar I wore 24 hrs because when I took it off it felt like my head would fall of. I was scared.
Stared to eat better. But slept a lot.
Took pain meds & muscle relaxants.
Week three-
Feeling a bit more lively
Walking around the house, my neck pain is decreasing, but now my shoulder and upper back muscles feel sore.
I tested my neck and I could turn it ever so slightly without pain. Hooray!!! I needed this boost.
I take pain meds only when I start to feel pain, which I notice usually occurs if I am upright for more than 3 hours.
Tomorrow I see Dr. For the first time. ( seems long)
It will be my I month mark.
I am shocked at how slow this process is. I thought I'd be back to normal, taking care of my two children.
I was wrong. Again, I wish the Dr. Would have told me this. As a mom, I have to have round the clock help with my kids. I cannot cook yet, so I need meals, etc. this all takes a lot of help and planning. I am lucky to have help. But I worry for those who do not.

I have so many questions.
At theis point, after 1 month, what is typical to expect?
I realize there is so much variation in this recovery.
But I fear my husband thinks I'm a pain, he's doing everything.
Should I push myself to do things?
I shower by myself, but I have not driven yet, I was told no by Dr.
Any advice?


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    edited 01/27/2015 - 7:51 PM
    Welcome to Spine-Health

    Use that above hyperlink to help you get started with Spine-Health and navigate through the system.

    If there are any questions, you can always post them here, send Liz or myself a private message or contact Ron rdilauro@veritashealth.com

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • I'm only 5 days out from ACDF on C4/5 & C5/6. I have 4 children and it has been extremely hard to sit and watch everyone else take care of my children and I can't. They are worried about me but stay away because they are afraid to hurt me. I was prepared from my Neurosurgeon and from this site on kind of what to expect. My NS made it seem as tho it wouldn't be that bad though.

    I woke up from surgery crying from the extreme pain in my right shoulder. It was the same pain as before the surgery but about 20x worse. To top it off the anesthesiologist told the nurse to only give me Tylenol because there were no complications. I'm pretty sure if I could have I would've slapped him, I mean seriously I was CRYING! The nurse gave me Tylenol and then gave me two shots of Demerol and that helped a little so I was able to stop crying. I was originally told I would have a hard brace right after surgery. I didn't get it for 7 hours after my surgery. And when the nurses tried transferring me from the gurney to my bed in my room they did not support my head or neck and my head was jerked to the left to where my chin was lined up with my shoulder. The bed then wouldn't work and was jerking around so I'm sure you get the picture.

    My hospital stay only lasted a day and I was ready to get out of there. My NS finally told them to give me morphine every 4 hours but my overnight nurse apparently didn't think I needed it. I would wait on getting it as long as I possibly could and near tears again and she would get pissed the 2 times in her 12 hour shift that I asked for it. She wouldn't even come check on me at all she only came in on those 2 instances that I called her. At the end of her shift the next morning she finally brought me a spirometer and told me she forgot to bring it to me sooner and proceeded to ask me what I had eaten, how much I'd drank all night and went to the bathroom because she never bothered to come check. She also told the nurse coming on shift that even though I was 2 hours overdue on my morphine to NOT give me anymore because I was going home at some point that day. About an hour later the new nurse came and brought me another shot of morphine because she said she knew I was in alot of pain and wasn't going to make me go without pain relief.

    I had a two and a half hour ride home as well and she wasn't going to send me home with nothing in my system. My NS nurse practitioner or assistant came to see me before discharge and I asked her why my right shoulder was hurting worse and she said its because they pinned my shoulders back but thats not what it feels like. The pain is slowly getting better but I've been taking my meds on schedule and the only time I'm in alot of pain is when I first wake up in the morning.

    I too, wished my NS hadn't told me this was so easy and smooth as he made it out to be. I have been feeling like something is wrong with me cause it shouldn't be this bad. But I remind myself everyone is different and I've been having problems for upwards of 7 years now so It will probably take me a little longer. I was glad to read your post though because it at least gave me some insight as to what to look forward to next week. I was honestly hoping to be able to take care of my kids by now because with any past surgery I've had I didn't get down time I just went right back the next day to being mom again. I hope things keep getting better for you and will look forward to reading another update.
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