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Occipitocervical Fusion and Arnold's Chiari (decompression surgery)


I've posted on the forums but wanted to introduce myself...not sure where to start, so I'll jump right in.

June of 2013, had symptoms of trouble swallowing, trouble completing what I was saying, couldn't workout or exercise without extreme pressure in my head and with roughly 1-2 days of recovery in bed. I went through my primary care physician and did a CT Scan, MRA and MRI and then was referred to a local neurosurgeon to review my MRI. He thought I had Basular Invagination so he referred me to a specialist. I had Chiari decompression surgery on 8/20/13. I was in the hospital for roughly 3-4 days after surgery and returned to work approximately one month after surgery (customer service at a bank). This surgery took me around 6 months to recover from. I had nausea for the whole six months and it was told to me that it was because the surgery was performed around the area where the nerves are that cause nausea. I started lifting weights and working out again roughly 2-2.5 months after surgery. I made a full recovery from this surgery.

I had a hernia fixed May of 2014 and then in late 2014 my symptoms started coming back that were similar to my Chiari but they weren't as severe at first. It mainly was trouble swallowing, trouble breathing, not resting well and my physical activity was limited to going to work (office job) and going home and laying around. On February 2, 2015 I had an occipitocervical fusion to fuse my skull to my C2 and C3. Prior to surgery, my C1 was leaning back into my brainstem (kinked madula) and causing the symptoms. My tendons and muscles weren't supporting my head so it was basically like a "bobble head", as I was told.

I am 20 weeks roughly from surgery and still have a little trouble swallowing but have gotten better on getting up and doing more physical activity as well as getting out in public (which used to bother me prior to my surgery). I returned to work two weeks after this surgery but after a month it became too much and I took two more weeks off. That is something I would have done differentyl and took more time off from work after the surgery. I've been told the trouble swallowing can take up to six months to go away.

I have not done much in the way of physical exercise since surgery other than some physical therapy and the occasional yard work. I remember the last month of recovery being tough after my Chiari decompression and it appears that this will be the same heading into this fifth month after surgery. I hope that some of the effects of surgery will fully dissipate during the next few weeks or so as they did last time.

Driving was started back a little under two weeks after surgery and hasn't been much of an issue....only a few close lane changes and stuff like that. Backing up is hard but it's getting easier...just takes more time and the more I do it the better I get, which is good.

Anyways, not sure what else to post on this one so if you have questions, please ask. If you know of any articles that might help, let me know, also.

Thank you,


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