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C5/C6 in January

I'm starting to get really nervous for my January 5th surgery.. As of right now I'm having C5/C6 ACDF but that's pending a new MRI to make sure everything is still the same as it was in my last MRI from October 2014. I have been dealing with the pain for over a year now and hoping that all goes well. I'm super nervous that I wont be able to just heal after surgery. Not sure my family is really prepared for the fact that I will not be able to do anything around the house... The PA said no house work for at least 2-3 months... is she kidding me!! I do all the house work... Did anyone else have those types of restrictions? They also said I will be in Aspen collar for at minimum 3 months.. I think I just might go crazy!! Both my kids (17 and 9) are just about to start up travel sports season. They both have separate sporting events out of town 12 days after surgery. My doctor has already said it's ok for me to go as long as I'm not driving and I'm feeling up to it. We also have multiple traveling sport trips within the month after surgery. Wondering how long till I feel comfortable sleeping on my back or at least just propped up. I've heard that sleeping in a recliner is a must but don't think that will be possible in a hotel. I will be in hotel's for two out of the 3 weeks in February and a little worried.

Hoping to find someone to share worries and experiences with through this process.



  • Welcome. I had a ACDF on 6/7. I am in An Aspen collar. I had the surgery November 5 will be 6 weeks tomorrow. I had to wear collar 24/7 for the first 2 weeks and now I wear it when I leave house and sleep at night. I am sleeping fine and I am claustrophobic and a very anxious person. I bought a wedge pillow from a major bedding chain store and have about 8 pillows on that and two on my side son rest my arms on. It is fine. I couldn't sleep in recliner. I tried. I also got a cleaning lady who comes. I like that! ! My daughter palsy college basketball and I have missed the preseason games but I am hoping to go January 2nd. I see surgeon thismfriday and am hoping I can start driving. Not driving bothers me the most but also worried about an accident. I didn't take any pain meds not even a Tylenol after the day I came home for surgery, I wasn't in pain before surgery I had a severe herniated disc squishing my spinal cord. Hard time walking, severe spacisisty and a lot of tingling and numbness. I was so scared couldn't sleep for days and was falling apart. It was way easier than I thought. I am expected to make a good recovery. My concerns are I have nicely allergies so I just have a cage an a few screws. Try and relax. Easier said than done.
  • LauraD1414LLauraD1414 Posts: 8
    edited 12/17/2015 - 7:51 AM
    So glad you are doing well after your surgery!! I'm really hoping for the same type of out come from mine. I am in daily pain now and have been for moths now.. Tingling/shooting pain down the left arm, sharp shooting pain throughout neck and shoulders. Really looking forward to being out of pain. I am borrowing a recliner from a friend, my husband is a very restless sleeper and not sure I will be able to tolerate him moving around. So I guess if the recliner is not comfortable for me I can put my husband on that at night. lol
    My NS will also put in hardware, and screws.. in his words he doesn't want to put all his eggs in one basket. I guess that's why they use the hardware and will keep me in the aspen collar for so long. Will you or have you done any physical therapy?
    Hope you are feeling up to making your daughters basketball game in January!!
  • I just went to my 6 weeks appt. doing good. Yes I will,start pt with no neck ROM (to range of motion) to be done just muscles massage for muscle in shoulder and back. I got the collar off now. I must admit I miss it a little a night. It was a security blanket I guess. I can drive now and most all restrictions are lifted. You will feel better after the operation. I'm glad you borrowed a recliner. That way you can move around when u can't sleep well in one place. You can do this!! I try and think of all the people who have done this and are doing great! Their are a lot of them. Walking around!
  • After 2 weeks wearing collar nonstop I was told to wear as needed. I don't feel comfortable going out without it. Around the house I'm fine. I slept with wedges leading up to surgery and about 10 days after. I actually cried (happy tears) when I finally was able to lay flat for the first time in nearly 2 years. I do find I get tired very easily and require a daily nap. I think it's my body telling me to rest and heal. Not permitted to drive til 1-18 with therapy starting then 2 days a week. Hoping to be released to go back to work after my next doc appt. 2-19.
  • Hello, I'm looking at surgery this summer (my choice) since I work for a school that is out for the summer. I'm only 33 years old with two very active kids! I'm very nervous about having the surgery, but my new MRI shows that in one year it has gotten worse. My question is how long were you down? Meaning like can't do anything down. I just don't see how I'm going to make it!! My husband is amazing! I guess feeling like I'm going to miss out.
  • Nick.nyNNick.ny New York,NYPosts: 121
    edited 12/24/2015 - 6:56 PM
    I'm going for anterior revision of ACDF C4/5/6/7, cleaning bone spurs and fusing the level above that C 3/4 on Wednesday January 6.
    2011 ACDF C 4/5/6/7.
    2011 repaired sternum with fixation plate and 9 screws.
    4/2011,3/2012,11/2012 and 6/2013  Rotator cuff surgeries.  
    1/6/2016 revision ACDF C4/5/6/7, plus fusing the level above that C 3-4.
    Pending L5-S1.
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,476
    Welcome to Spine-Health
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    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • So I'm now about a week away from surgery and I have torn thoughts about it. I'm looking forward to feeling better once I can get through the healing process but I had another MRI done about a week ago and it shows that I have slightly bulging from C2 down to C7. C5/6 is the worst of it. So we are going to continue with just the single level fusion. My NS said that the other level at this point don't warrant fusion my entire neck but that I will probably be back in 5-10 years... Just a bit worried that while their are fixing one problem that the surgery could create more problems above and below.
    Thank you Lvn86 for all the encouraging words. It really does make the scary and unknown a little less daunting.
    Nick.ny how long ago was your original ACDF? That's my number one worry.. Did you get any relief from your original surgery?
  • Nick.nyNNick.ny New York,NYPosts: 121
    Hi Laura,
    My original ACDF was four and a half years ago,3 level C- 4/5/6/7,badly injured in an auto collision,I escaped paralysis or death but.... I broke my neck.And because besides the acdf I had 5 other surgeries ,all resulted of that accident, I didn't feel any relief. Always in pain management ,epidurals,opiates...on and on ,until now. I just keep my fingers crossed and hope for better results this time.....! Are you done? Are you ready?
    Any body else in January?
    2011 ACDF C 4/5/6/7.
    2011 repaired sternum with fixation plate and 9 screws.
    4/2011,3/2012,11/2012 and 6/2013  Rotator cuff surgeries.  
    1/6/2016 revision ACDF C4/5/6/7, plus fusing the level above that C 3-4.
    Pending L5-S1.
  • Wow, it sounds like you have really been through the ringer!! I really hope you are able to get some relief with this surgery! I will be sending good thoughts your way.. I go to do my pre-op today and not sleeping well at all anymore.. Not sure if it's because I overdid it last night trying to get the house squared away before next week or if I'm just getting anxious about surgery.
  • Sue 1965SSue 1965 United KingdomPosts: 115
    edited 01/01/2016 - 12:26 AM
    Hi Laura

    I had c5/6 acdf on 2112-I was really anxious too-and my biggest worry was the swallowing thing as I read a lot about that on here and as I have a really bad gag problem-was concerned.I had a sore throat for 2 days at most but now 11 days in-am eating normally.Like LVN86-i couldn't sleep in chair either but I must admit I do really struggle to get comfortable in bed,I normally sleep on my side and found it hard on my back-I was also scared about damaging the wound area-fusion-by laying on my side! I have tried it however and can do it-albeit not for very long.My right arm pain is now intermittent-if I type too much-like now-it hurts! I have worse neck and shoulder/shoulderblade pain that before though.I was told by a nurse however that the position you are in when they operate can cause that.I am a real scaredy cat and if I can do it-so can you! The restrictions afterwards are so frustrating..I am an impatient person and want to be pushing on-I know however I can't-I don't want to put my recovery back-and also it is only 11 days-major surgery will take a while to heal and is bound to create some new pain for a while-will have to work on the patience! Good Luck Laura-message me if I can be of help.I'm in the UK so things are probably done a bit different here.
  • Nick.nyNNick.ny New York,NYPosts: 121
    Laura wishing you the best with your surgery tomorrow . Successful and painless surgery,quick and smooth recovery.My thoughts and prayers will be with you. I will follow Wednesday morning!
    Good luck, Good bless you!!!
    2011 ACDF C 4/5/6/7.
    2011 repaired sternum with fixation plate and 9 screws.
    4/2011,3/2012,11/2012 and 6/2013  Rotator cuff surgeries.  
    1/6/2016 revision ACDF C4/5/6/7, plus fusing the level above that C 3-4.
    Pending L5-S1.
  • Laura ,
    How was your surgery?
  • Sorry I went mia... I have my spine-health account on my work computer and was not able to access it from home. My surgery went great!! I've had very little pain and what pain I do have I'm able to control with just Tylenol 3. I must say I think I made out to be much worst in my head than what it turned out to be. I ended up having to stay in the hospital for 2 nights but in hindsight it was probably for the best. They had me on deltoid while in the hospital.. wow that stuff is great but I was very happy when they took me off that on night 2 in the hospital. Sleeping in this neck brace has been challenging to say the least. I think I may have finally found a slightly propped up position with pillows on both sides of my head so I don't try and roll on my side during the night is working.
    I don't go back to see my NS for another 5 weeks, that's when he will tell me if I can start weaning myself off the neck collar.
    Thank you to all for the encouraging words and checking in to see how I'm doing!!
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