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Introduction--had 4 level cervical fusion 7 weeks ago

velcro333vvelcro333 Posts: 1
edited 04/10/2015 - 10:07 PM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I know that when I was facing a f level cervical fusion (C3-C7) I was scared to death of the pain, the loss of neck motion, you name it. I live alone and have no one really to help me at home. I went to the hospital at 4 AM in a cab when it s 6 degrees in North Carolina (very cold for here) and went in all by myself, again, very afraid. However, I knew I had to do something, because my stenosis, radiculopathy, and cervical instability were causing numerous numbness, weakness, and pain issues mainly in my hands and shoulders, but also down into my left leg. The point of my message is to tell people that if you are in the hands of a good surgeon, the surgery is minimally painful, and I could feel the benefits immediately after I woke up. I have had a hysterectomy in 1986 and 3 hand surgeries--the pain of this surgery was nowhere near the pain levels of those surgeries. The main pain was simply neck spasms which were well controlled with the medications they gave me.

I am now 7 weeks out. The only thing I regret is that they sent me back to work part time after 4 weeks--that was too soon. Mainly because I had lost my appetite and wasn't eating anywhere near what I should have been. I was much too weak to be driving to work and back, but it is a 27 mile commute. My neck can move almost as much as it could before the surgery--I have no numbness, my muscle tone is coming back, and my neck pain is much less than it was prior to surgery.

This has to be one of the scariest elective surgeries to decide to go through with. I have no idea how well my vertebrae will fuse (my doctor used bone marrow along with a calcium matrix mixed in), but for now, I am happy to have had it. I also have to mention that people at work may not be very sympathetic to what you have gone through. I have had some memory and fatigue problems which are slowly getting better, but people seem to be angry that I am not yet 100% not even 2 months from surgery. I think that they should give you a full 8 weeks of recovery before returning to work due to lack of understanding of employers. I also have had had major voice problems that are getting better, but had a friend get mad at me and tell me to stop talking like that. People can be very impatient and unkind with what they don't understand. Everybody seems to think you should be back at 100% within a few weeks, not understanding the major surgery you just underwent.

So, to summarize--surgery went well--not super painful--hopefully fusion will go well. Don't expect people around you to understand what you just went through. You come in with a relatively small scar (although mine is quite large at about 5") and they seem to think you are at 100%, and you won't be for quite a while. I have had some major fatigue, loss of appetite, and amnesia problems, but I know they are getting better--I just wish people would be a bit more patient with me.

Anyhow, I have full feeling back in my hands and fingers, no more nerve pain, and my neck feels much better. I'd do it again in a hearbeat.


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    Please take the time to read this post and refer to it when you have questions

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    Spinal stenosis since 1995
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    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • RetRRet Posts: 9
    edited 04/11/2015 - 4:51 AM
    Thank you so much for posting this. I need to have a level four fusion and have been so scared to have it. Your story has helped me realize there are good outcomes and has helped me to deal with this.

    They told me I would be back to work in two weeks. I couldn't see how this would be possible and your story confirms it.

    I also live alone. It is good to hear you have a good range of motion. This is one of the things that has worried me. My job consists of sitting in front of a computer for 9 hours a day. I answer the phones so being able to talk is another issue. My commute is nerve racking now and that is another concern.

    Thank you for sharing your story.
  • OI8T12OOI8T12 Posts: 44
    edited 04/12/2015 - 8:59 AM
    Hi velcro333 . What a pleasure to read your story. Very well said. I have a special interest in your story because I'm scheduled for the same type of surgery on May, 26th. I don't think that a 4 level fusion of C3-C7 is very common. I also have problems in both of my arms, hands, fingers, and my neck. I'm not new to back surgery as I had a laminectomy/discectomy on L5-S1 on my lumbar spine 24 years ago. I'm much older now, (58) than I was when I had my lumbar surgery, so I don't think I'm going to heal as fast as I did back then. :)

    Please keep us posted on your progress going forward. I will be following your story right up until you choose to end the story. I wish you a full recovery and speedy healing process. Take care and I wish you nothing but the best. Ken
  • I also am needing a four level fusion C3-C7. My hands get numb and I seem to be losing my grip on things. I grabbed my hairbrush the other day and it went flying across the room. My legs seem off balance sometimes when I walk.

    As much as it scares me to have this done - I realize it is time to get this done before it gets worse. I tried for a year to make it better. It wasn't until the second NS I saw actually explained things to me. The first one didn't even tell me how many levels he wanted to fuse. Fear set in instantly.

    I will let you know when I get this scheduled - maybe we can be surgery buddies. IT would be great to have someone with the same type of surgery to reach out to.

    Take Care
  • Ret , surgery buddies is fine with me. Do you have a thread on here somewhere? I'm going to look around and see if you do. I don't want to clutter up this thread. Buddies it is. :) Ken
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