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9 Weeks Post Op. ACDF two level C5 C6

LamManLLamMan Posts: 121
edited 06/10/2015 - 8:32 AM in Recovering from Surgery
My history and 3 weeks Post Op below.

6 Weeks Post Op.
Okay, went to my 6 Weeks Post Op today, gave my surgeon a hug, he was a little surprised and said "wow, getting a hug is good especially Post Op"

Anyway, PEEK Cage was used during my surgery, I'm not sure if the "fuse" time is different using different materials, incision was good, X-Ray looks good, all screws and plate are at where they suppose to. I looked at my plate in the X-Ray and it's tilted in quite an angel, may be it's because I have a reversed neck curve.

No issue swallowing at all even with 2 long Tylenol, steaks and other food all good. Off of all pain and muscle medication 3 weeks ago, No more hard collar but need to wear a soft collar for a few more weeks (especially if I ride in a car). Clear to drive short distance to start, range of motion is not that good at this time. PT starts tomorrow to rebuild the strength of my right arm (I asked the surgeon for it) . not sure how many session I will need.

No neck and arm pain (never have pain prior to surgery) other than a slight click or two when I move my neck more up and down, but then I couldn't move my neck for 6 weeks, I will try to sleep in my bed now and get my sleep pattern normal again. Back to work in 2 weeks, lifting limit is now 20 pounds. next appointment in 3 months... seems like things are getting back to normal slowly, but I still need to remember recovery is ongoing for the next 6-9 months for the bone to heal/fuse completely.

Wish everyone have a great recovery.




  • LamMan 6 week visit sounds very positive! Always a good thing to know things are doing what they are supposed to do.
    C6/7 ACDF 18th April 2015 after 8 years of mucking around pretending it was something else...
  • LamManLLamMan Posts: 121
    edited 05/19/2015 - 2:45 PM
    you're next on the 6 weeks Post Op, I have a feeling you will be cleared and back to some normal activities!!!

  • reddragun61rreddragun61 Posts: 27
    edited 05/19/2015 - 5:57 PM
    Hi Kenny, I am new to this site, so I'm not sure I know what I'm doing. On 3-3 I had a 5 level posterior cervical decompression and fusion surgery with hardware. On 4-23 the DR. released me to go back to work only if I could be on light duty. There is no light duty where I work. Any way he gave me a lot of restrictions. My job frowns on restrictions, therefor would not let me return to work. Did your job give you grief?
  • Hi reddragun61,

    Sorry you have to deal work issue after such a surgery, I am very luck because I mostly do computer work, just sitting, standing around and no heavy lifting so it wasn't an issue for me, my lifting is limited to 20 pounds for the next 3 months + a soft neck collar the next few weeks, work is totally okay with my restriction.

    I understand you work situation but you really don't want to screw up the recovery by doing too much too soon. You might want to looking a legal stand point to see if your company have to do something for you, it might be varies by States. Good luck and we are all in it together.


  • Hi reddragun61,

    Sorry you have to deal work issue after such a surgery, I am very luck because I mostly do computer work, just sitting, standing around and no heavy lifting so it wasn't an issue for me, my lifting is limited to 20 pounds for the next 3 months + a soft neck collar the next few weeks, work is totally okay with my restriction.

    I understand you work situation but you really don't want to screw up the recovery by doing too much too soon. You might want to looking a legal stand point to see if your company have to do something for you, it might be varies by States. Good luck and we are all in it together.


  • Went to my first Physical Therapy this morning. She wants me to walk at least 15-20 minutes (level ground, twice a day). it's to build up muscle on my back to support the neck, stationary bike is okay to start. Received a rubber band thingy to work on my Bicep and Shoulder muscle, I will go twice a week for three weeks for now. They will work on my core strength and posture to help build muscle to protect my neck, and also get some strength back for my right arm.

    Remember sometimes you have to ask for PT from your surgeon, in my case, at the end of the appointment I told the surgeon I would like PT and my surgeon said, "yes, that's good idea" lol

  • RichardARRichardA Posts: 149
    edited 05/20/2015 - 2:28 PM
    Good news mate - the PT sounds about right to me and I will definitely be asking for it (the PT that is). I can feel quite markedly how much weaker my left arm is to my right so using therabands and stationary bike/walking for rebuilding muscle is exactly what I am hoping to get out of PT. I am not overly interested in just getting a massage / TENs unit stuff I want to rebuild muscle and cardiovascular fitness again.
    Thanks for your post pal - keep on PT'ing!!
    C6/7 ACDF 18th April 2015 after 8 years of mucking around pretending it was something else...
  • Do you think I could get comfortable last night in bed? Tossed and turned and swapped pillows and crap until 3am this morning, then gave up, went to the couch and fell asleep like a log! Neck brace really interferes with getting comfortable in my view.

    Kenny I check my range of motion in my neck when I shower and I think I am getting pretty close to being able to drive, just need to take it easy and not jerk it left and right (neck). I will be so looking forward to getting this thing off me - I am finding myself constantly thinking about it again and it is not the right way to go with 10 days left! Counting down every bloody day!

    Driving tips are good - the muscles have lazed away for 6 weeks so getting them back to speed is important - walking is the hottest thing on the planet for rebuilding those neck and core muscles - I hate walking but it has done my neck the absolute world of good so would encourage you to do as much as you possibly can.

    Speedy recovery pal....just not while driving!

    C6/7 ACDF 18th April 2015 after 8 years of mucking around pretending it was something else...
  • A bunch of random notes and what I noticed

    First of all, it's strange to get back driving after 6 weeks, I noticed my neck is definitely stiff and could't turn and look at the rear windshield to back up (even using my upper torso) , so I depended on the side and rear mirror to backed my car out of my driveway. Driving forward is good, however I got so used to not moving my head the past 6 weeks I caught myself either moving my eyeballs or the whole upper body to check traffic, When I go to the store I will need to park the car to the forward spot so I can just drive forward without backing up.

    Did a few sets of PT exercise last night and it was tiring, sleeping without neck brace is still strange and nervous for me, I'm afraid I will twist my neck when I am asleep. I moved my neck quite a bit yesterday and I woke up with a little bit of sore in my neck, I believe it's the muscle I have not used for 6 weeks, took 2 Tylenol. My range of motion is better looking left than right, I think because the incision is on the right side of my neck. Keeping steady speed seems to be difficult at the beginning because I paying so much attention to my neck, it I eased up after 10 minutes or so.

    Since my weight limitation is now 20 pounds, I did some cleaning up a bit, got tired quickly walking from basement to second floor a few times, I need to start walking more, I think my legs are used to sitting around. By the way, the hard collar ventilate much better then the soft collar.

    Have a great day everyone, wishing everyone a great recovery.

  • I am having a fusion on my 5,6,7 and was told that it is only a 2 level because it is the discs between the 5-6 and 6-7? Just wondering if that is 2 level or 3? Did you have a bone graph taken or did they use cadaver bone? I was told i need to wear a hard collar for 6 weeks and then have PT for 18 weeks after that. Any advice on sleeping or how to keep the collar comfortable? I am really nervous to have mine done because I am having a bone graph from my right hip as well.

    Good luck with the rest of your recovery. Any advice or things to help with healing would be great to know

    Keep posting :)

  • Hi Rachel

    What is your symptoms? Two level sounds about right (discs between the 5-6 and 6-7) but you might want to confirm with your surgeon, my surgeon and I went back and forth couple of time between 2 level or 3 level, we decided we'll do a 2 level in the end.

    My surgeon used a thing called PEEK Cage instead of bones, they are like little plastic thingy with a hole in the middle, they put bone shaving and stuff from the surgery into the hole and then put it in between my vertebrae to promote bone growth. You will find out different surgeons do things so differently that it will make your head spin.

    Hard Collar for six weeks is the toughest part for me throughout this whole thing, I had to sleep in a recliner for the entire 6 weeks, I tried to sleep on the bed 2-3 times but it didn't work out at all. you will find out you want to adjust your hard collar in different tightness when you're awake and when you try to take a nap.

    I totally understand you are pretty nervous about the surgery, i was too! looking back now... the surgery is the easy part, it was the 6 weeks hard collar, no driving, no lifting more than 8 pounds killing me. It will be uncomfortable for you the first few day / first week but everyday will get better everyday afterwards.

    RichardA posted about his recovery here, very detail and fun read, check it out here.


  • ivymiivym Posts: 278
    edited 05/21/2015 - 2:22 PM
    Sounds like a 2 level to me. I totally understand the nerves. I am looking forward o / dreading my upcoming 3 level w/ cage but my friends here have helpe keep outright fer just out of sight.

    Kenny sounds like your recovery is good. So happy to hear you are driving. Yay!!!!

    Rich, I wonder why you are having sleeping problems? Maybe beause you are not just exhausted anymore from the daily activities of getting better. Could be a positive thing if it means you are getting your energy back if that makes sence.

    HuGS to all. We are such a great group. I am a fortunate soul indeed.


  • Rich,

    The hard collar is just tough for sleeping, plus it pushes my lower jaw up to my brain when I lay down, there are many mornings my jaw hurts and took a while to open my mouth wide enough to eat. I tried to sleep on the bed two three times but I ended up go back to my recliner at 2 or 3 AM. I hear you about the counting down buddy, the last 2 days was the worse.... LOL.

    Hang in there sir! I'm going walking tomorrow as you suggest.
  • RichardARRichardA Posts: 149
    edited 05/25/2015 - 8:46 PM
    Yes we are. I love you all...I wish I could really hug the lot of you!!

    Ivy, my sleeping problems worry me a bit. Strike-a-light. (aussie slang for exclamation!!!...came from the poms eons ago). I'm just so unsettled and the next day I'm kinda buggered (that's aussie for stuffed, or tired, hon!). My routine is up the xxxx and I hate it. I think its my shoulder...really bothering me...going to see the doc about it when I can drive...pain at both the pointy bit on the top of the shoulder and at the neck end of my first rib...weird.

    I also think I'm starting to worry a bit (and probably completely unnecessarily) about some very very mild numbness in my left last three little toes...so minor you wouldn't know it was there unless you were sitting around all day looking at the TV over the top of your feet! cant seem to shake it...keep trying to convince myself it is from sitting in the one spot watching TV or stuff like that...but I think I am over-cooking it psychologically (like how I spelt that big word so accurately!!!). probably nothing but going to keep my eye on it.

    Kenny so glad you are walking man....keep doing it...the more you do it, the more you realise the birds you see very damn day start looking at you as if you're some kind of stalker checking them out each day....they have tickets on themselves, so don't worry about them.

    Rachel.. stay cool, and stay checked in....
    C6/7 ACDF 18th April 2015 after 8 years of mucking around pretending it was something else...
  • Driving for 5 days
    1. I bumped the top of my head a few times getting in and out of my car, not fun! I need to do it more slowly and remember to lower my head.
    2. Range of motion still not as good as I like, I am not able to turn enough to see the rear window, I've been backing up to a parking spot using all mirrors or drive to the forward spot. Thinking about buying a backup camera and monitor, (as low as $50 at Amazon) , the camera mount at the license plate.

    Sleep: I don't wear the soft brace to bed and sleep habit almost back to normal but I'll get up with some soreness in my neck compare to recliner, I think I turned my head more laying flat in bed.

    Neck Brace: keeping them for a while, when you need to do some work in and out of the house, (looking for things under the sink, cleaning the bath tub....etc) it will remind you not to move your neck too much. I was trying to connect a windshield washer hose under the hood and almost tilted and twisted my neck too much.

    For those who has surgery coming up, brush up your backing up your car using your mirror skills!! Parallel parking? I don't know! :)

    My $0.02
  • I can say, the only benefit of not having the hard collar on is that my range of motion came back almost immediately. I only had a week where I couldnt really move my neck left and right but after that every day was a little better. I'm now three weeks out and I can move my head left and right the full 90° with no pain. But I know Kenny had two levels done which is a whole different beast.
    Rich I think it's a great idea that you're doing a little movement while you're in the shower. I'm sure it's helping you get back to driving and all your daily life activities.
    At this point I don't feel I will need PT. I went for over a year and plan to slowly incorporate the exercises I used to do to strengthen my upper and mid back and neck. I know the mid back is very important to supporting the neck.
    Glad to hear Kenny is doing great, and Rich is feisty as ever.
  • LamManLLamMan Posts: 121
    edited 05/25/2015 - 7:30 AM
    So awesome your range of motion is good and no pain!!! I think I have 50 degress left and right, I might have them measure it when I do PT this Friday, I don't want to stress it either because my C7 is not in great shape. The PT helped me a lot just one week, I can feel the different already.. able to floss both both hands, hold a bar of soap high, put sugar in coffee :)


  • And Adela. Every day is going to be a little better now.

  • Feeling some pain in neck, radiates to trapezius. Feels like my first rib is tweaked. I've been in a funk today. So tired, I hit a wall at 11:30 this morning, after sleeping a solid 9 hours the night before. Granted I had horrible insomnia The night before last, and only slept three hours. So maybe that caught up to me. All I have to say is I'm exhausted. This roller coaster recovery is messing with my head and mood. I wish I could say every day gets a little better, but honestly it doesn't. Every day is absolutely different from the day before. I'm sure at some point it will all be good. I was told by another buddy on this sight that the pain magically got better at around 10 weeks. I pray that is true.
    Rich, I have a question for you about the numbness? If it was something that started right when you come out of surgery I have a feeling I know what caused it. During the surgery they put a bunch of needles in us to monitor our nerves. Maybe the ones they put on your feet, they went to far and severed or irritated the nerve. I know someone that had that happen to her. It eventually got better. Just a thought. Unless it started much later, post op.
    Kenny, be careful bud, but glad to hear you are doing so well. Glad PT is helping. Have them measure your range of motion so you can see the progress you are making. That is always very motivating.
    Hugs to you all. I appreciate every single one of you. My new family.
  • Hey Adela.....feel for you pal, I know exactly how you feel coz I am feeling the same way. The foot nerve thingy you mention could well be the answer. To be honest it's just another one of those little numb spots/tingly spots that reminds me I have nerves there somewhere they just haven't figured out how to behave properly just yet.

    Traps and first rib...absolutely. It is weird that I know exactly the feeling too...my first rib always seems to be playing tricks on me and I don't know how my day is going to unfold. For example I picked my boy up from school today and we walked the 2 miles home (and had a good little chat while we are at it!...well he talked and I listened anyway!). I answered my mobile while I was walking and 15 minutes later I had to struggle to get my left arm down without feeling like my shoulder had pulled out of its socket!!! Honestly its like a lottery some days how it will end up.

    I think I'm pretty cool with the nerve thingy these days - I realise it will take up to 18 months for the nerves to hopefully regenerate so have pencilled in Xmas 2016 as my "you bloody ripper" moment for my recovery. To be honest I am really looking forward to my next instalment of recovery...that of physio. I am going to do a fair bit of it because I want to get into a dedicated practice and want to make sure my body recovers in a balanced (left/right) way. I'm happy to put up with daily exercises and stretching for as long as it takes. The walking *sigh* has been my saviour and I cant really spend too long without pumping out 4 miles around the track these days...who knew! I will keep doing it every day and just add in other exercises as the doc sees fit. Pilates is on my mind!

    Other than that, am feeling well in terms of feeling strong...impatience helps in that space I think. But it is up and down. Even I only got 2 sessions of about 3 hours sleep each last night Adela....bloody hopeless and it screws your day up royally as a result. Keep fighting!

    Love Rich
    C6/7 ACDF 18th April 2015 after 8 years of mucking around pretending it was something else...
  • LamManLLamMan Posts: 121
    edited 06/10/2015 - 8:44 AM
    Went back to work for 3 days last weeks, and 4 days this week, they are easing me back to work which is nice. I noticed my range of motion is a little better now that I've been driving for three weeks, I still need to be care not to over stress the neck. I am totally off of neck brace now. Still waking up with some muscle sore on my upper neck for only a few minutes. I ate a BIG piece of chicken and swallow too fast last week and I could feel it stuck in my throat for a bit, first time after the surgery, it's weird, not gagging or choking.. just strange.

    Sleeping is still pretty screwed up, looking into getting something OTC to help me sleep through the night. any recommendations? Fix my lawnmower and able to pull start and mowed the small lawn a few days ago, (Self Propelled mower)

    Physical therapy is tough, she was wonderful and I can already see my right arm is getting a little bit stronger each week. the toughest exercise is hold you arm out straight put a towel between your palm and the wall and write all 26 alphabets, like wax on wax off!!! Will start riding my stationary bike daily and get back into shape...

    Have fun guys
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