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My doctor hasn't been very helpful with telling me what I can be doing and when

jamesgirllljjamesgirlll Posts: 115
edited 09/03/2015 - 1:56 AM in Recovering from Surgery
Hi. Four weeks ago today I had anterior cervical discectomy with fusion...... I think I have the ROI C cage....but the surgeon didn't specify. I don't have any parts in the front of my spine...only in the back... My fusion he used some of my own bone and some of cadaver bone (ick...I didn't want cadaver bone.....not only have I heard that it isn't as effective...I hate dead people). I've been in a hard neck brace except for when lying down or when watching t.v.

I was told not to lift anything for 4-6 weeks. I was told not to drive for 2-3 weeks but I don't know how I am supposed to drive when wearing the collar which I was to do for at least four weeks. I guess I can take it off now....before the surgery I was clumsy a lot and fell often but I haven't fallen since the surgery. In about two weeks I am to start aquatic physical therapy....if I can drive that far......(about 10 miles? maybe 15?)

I've been driving already to the bus stop to pick up my legally blind husband as it is Florida and there are lots of thunderstorms. I'm not going to let him walk a half mile in the storms. I've been driving since about a week and a half out of surgery just to there....(the bus stop) I wear my collar so I don't have the greatest of vision.

I was told not to start methotrexate for my newly diagnosed psoriatic arthritis for three months but I was told I could take celebrex (an NSAID) after two weeks...then I read somewhere online that you shouldn't take NSAIDs for six months as they can prevent the fusion......so I guess I wll stay off of the celebrex until then. I have been in a great deal of pain and don't wish to undergo anymore surgery unless I can get into an artificial disk trial (as my insurance won't cover artificial disks and I believe them to be a much better option).......

I was told not to mop or push or pull for 4-6 weeks..no vaccuming...etc.....

I was wondering when you guys began to feel better and started these activities......

the reason I had the surgery was I had two herniated and torn and leaking disks causing spinal stenosis and radi something.........and cord deformity.. I was told I could go paralyzed without the surgery... before the surgery I was told I could drive in one week......that recovery time was minimal and most of their patients didn't need phsyical therapy, etc.... then after surgery I woke up in a neck collar and was told differently.....

The place I used typicaly does artificial disk replacement and minimally invasive surgeries and I think I was told what I could and couldn't do based on artificial disk replacement and NOT fusion.......

I've been very confused and have gotten nowhere talking to the doctors.. I know you can't give medical advice but if you could just tell me when you began certain activities....etc....

I would like to start tai chi for seniors for balance and flexibility and to build up strength.... I guess asking my physical therapist would be a good idea about that.. I have still been in a lot of pain and getting pain medication has been like pulling teeth....... I was already in chronic pain management before the surgery so I am treated like a drug addict (which I feel is unfair).

How long were you on pain medication after your surgery?

Has anyone here heard of the ROI C surgical implant? It doesn't use screws...it has teeth that dig into the bone.....

I also have one disk herniated in my thoraciac spine and two in my lumbar spine........ and a small benign tumor in my thoraciac spine.....

I was told before the surgery that my lower back pain might go away but that hasn't happened......

I get shots in the back a lot....and......radio frequency ablation or a rhizotomy depending on what you call it where you are from....every six months or so.. that is where they put an electrical probe in a needle and zap the nerve in my lower back on several levels from my lumbar to my sacral region..... I get knee shots every six months or so ....a set of four shots..one in each knee for a week for four weeks.....a gel to keep the bone from rubbing against one another..... like I said I was recently diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis (which has not been treated yet) they are waiting to treat it until after I recover from surgery.. My surgeon told me I could start methotrexate immediately but his medical assistant flipped out and told me to wait three months as it can slow healing and cause infections........

anybody relate to all this?

iI am so tired of feeling useless.....



  • Please help. My doctor only sees me for.two or three minutes.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,855
    Many times doctors will spend the least amount of time with you.
    But, that still is something within your control to change.
    When a doctor is trying to rush you out, all you need to do is say Slow Down You want to understand exactly what is going on. And if the doctor does not spend the appropriate amount of time with you, its very difficult to figure out what is exactly happening. You never need to be rude or aggressive with the doctor, but just tell them, its your life, your health and you need information.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,855
    the bottom line, what is it that you want?
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,427
    edited 09/03/2015 - 12:50 PM
    You are not very far out from your surgery, so if you could be more patient with yourself. You need your strength for continued healing.

    I think your doctor is the only one who can tell you about your particular activity levels. Everyone is so different and when someone may say how they were doing at what time period...well, another may need to take more time before that activity should be done.

    I would think your doctor wants you to know exactly what to do and when ....as he doesn't want to jeopardize his surgical work either.

    Re what cage, any object, you have in your body, ...well, I would ask.
    Doctor should certainly know what he did during surgery. I also think it would be good information to have for your own summary you've written of your medical history.

    Sometimes things happen and we think we'll never forget it, but with time, well, at least I forget.
    So, I always have condensed history, along with current meds I'm taking, on my person.

    Maybe if your visit to doctor, you have short list of questions, that you produce and ask about..he will take another minute to answer.

    Please keep us posted!
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • At 4 weeks (ACDF, 2 level, Peek Cage). I was wear my hard collar 24x7, sleeping on my recliner every night, no driving, no lifting over 8 pound, mostly sitting around the house and take naps every afternoon! I was off of all pain medication by then. Didn't see my surgeon until my 8 weeks Post Op. my 3 weeks post op appointment was with a physician assistant. I have a plate and bunch of screws in front of my cervical spine. I was off of my hard collar at 6 weeks and started driving, back to work full time at 8 weeks.


  • I actually had a list of questions on my phone and want even given an opportunity to pull them out.
    I agree that being rude or aggressive with the doctor is not the way to go.
    I would like to know exactly what device he implanted in me.
    I have not seen my surgeon yet as he is always doing surgery but this was one of the surgeons.

    You guys are right that everyone's surgery is a little different and we heal at different rates and so what actions you were doing might not be the same as what I can do.

    Thank you all
  • I too was told by my doctor that I can use NSAID after reading online its not supposed to be used. But I also read that the jury is still out on that and trials have not been done on humans.

    I have had good luck sending a letter with questions and then they call and give me the answers.

    I was in a collar prior to the surgery and when I drove, I took the collar off. I have never seen a person drive with a collar, although maybe some have.

    How much are you walking? It seems like you need to get answers directly from your doctor.
    C4-C5 ACDF surgery with plating August 28.
    cord compression due to disc-osteophyte complex
  • jamesgirllljjamesgirlll Posts: 115
    edited 09/07/2015 - 1:48 AM
    I think I will try emailing my questions in for the doctor. I might get a better response.
    I don't have his direct email though but I can email the lady who helped me set up the surgery. She is probably off today for
    Labor Day.
    I tried brushing my hair today and now my neck is very sore and I'm icing it. It was so tangled.
    All this laying around on my back.

    I'm not going to take my celebrex until it has been 6 months.

    I would rather be safe than sorry.

    I was going to practice driving my husband to work today with the collar off but he said to wait another week as I just stopped wearing my collar yesterday


  • I've not had surgery but one thing that I have learned over the years is to ask different people. Doctors are good at diagnosing. Surgeons are good at surgery but they don't diagnose. I find that over the years doctors are only a part of the solution. I usually go to a physical therapist or an occupational therapist to ask about things to do or not to do.
  • I do start physical therapy next week.... :) maybe I will have better answers then.....

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