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Two Level ACDF on September 3rd. Finally here & now I am scared!!

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:22 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hey everyone,

It has been a while since I have posted on here.

Lots has gone on to get this suregery date. Just to recap some things..here we go..this is long

Well after the Jan 2008 surgery (foraminotomy c 3-4 4-5 I felt better for a few weeks and then steadily went down hill from their. My Neuro had always told me I would need later fusion but that he did not like to do them on people my age.

In the end of Feb this year I felt soooo bad that my attorney (injury was from a car accident) set up an appoinment with an Ortho zSurgeon who's specialty in Spine. Anyway at that time the OS said you will always have a bad neck and right now it is too soon to access anything because your to soon out from surgery. He said come back and see me in 6 weeks if your still feeling like this bad. Needless to say I came out of this appt. crying my eyes out :''(

Well I did not go back after six weeks because the Neuro who did the surgery had me working with my PM doing some facet blocks etc..none of which even put a dent in my pain.

All through the months after my first neck surgery the Neuro's attitude seemed to get more and more rude. It was as if he thought I was nuts and my pain was not real. He was the one mind you who said right from the begining I would need the fusion.
I even did the discogram which corralated with the symptoms I was having. The test was positive. The neuro never even explained the results to me. That was in May and what a painful test that was!
The neruo asked me to see a Pain Psychologist to see if I was a good surgical candidate. The Pain Psych's results were I was a good to fair candidate but still the Neuro was reluctant for whatever reasons and he was becomeing more and more standoffish. He actually was shocked at the Pain Psych's evaluation.
Finally at one appointment, my mom was with me...I flat out asked the neuro how old he thought I was? He got real quiet. I said "do you think I am in my 20's?" He said yes! :jawdrop: :jawdrop: I was shocked. The doctor did not even know my AGE. :jawdrop: I said look I will will be 39 years old in December and it is right in my file.
So then the neuro got rude and said "Why don't you go back to Dr. Jones (the Orhto) and pick his brain and see what he wnats to do. And!! Hey if you like him better I wont be offended if you just have him do the fusion!" Well My mom and I were shocked at his atttude. :jawdrop:

Sorry so long, but I gotta get this out.
I went back to the Orhto!
The thing is this was the second time I was in this office for an appointment and I was treated really well. The PA came in and sat down and went over the discogram I had back in May. He explained how the disogram results were positive and showed the tearing and bulgin discs. he told me that the test corralated with my symptoms and then went on to tell how this problem is treated with the ACDF. He then went into great detail and explained the whole surgery. I had questions written down concerning this surgery but I never had a chance to ask them to the Neuro because we never got to that point. I did not bring them to the Ortho appointment, but the PA answered every question without me ever asking!!!

He did a neurological exam and then the doc came in and talked to me and explained everything the PA just went over and then did his own Neruological exam. The doc decided that yes I need the fusion but he wanted to rule out the rotator cuff as an issue before doing the surgery. I was showcked becuase I tried to get the darn neuro surgeon to rule that out a long time ago.

So I went and had the nerve test and MRI which both showed no real issies other than a bit of bursitis in the shoulder.
I went to the Neuro's office with the tests and he would not even gove me the time of day and told me to come back on a few weeks. Basically he would not comment on anything. He only asked me how I was and where my pain was. I said in the same palce it alwasy has been and the same intensity it has been for the last 6 months.

When I left there I was so mad I was seeing red! I said that is it I am done with this Neuro ~X( and I will continue on with the Ortho who takes the time to listen and treat me as a human and not just some broken machine part!

So on last Thursday I went back to the Ortho Surgeon. I got the same treatment as the last time I had been there. The PA came in and explained all the tests sI had and suggested that the OS may wnat me to go to a doc about the shoulder. We discussed this further and I told him I have no pain in my shoulder joint. Only in my neck and burning also in the very lowest tip of the scapula close to my spine.
When the OS came in he discussed the tests, then discussed the shoulder and decided that I did not need to go and be treated for anything to do with that because I have no symptoms and the tests don't really show much.
SO then he asked me to tell him how I came back to seeing him and why I wanted to continue with him and not the Neuro. I told him all about my 3 1/2 year ordeal with Work comp and my arm injury that led to 4 surgeries. I told him how I worked hard to recover from the injuries and surgeries and how I got off all medication and was real good for about 3 weeks. At the 3 week mark I got into this car accident that basically was a trade ffrom the WComp stuff to a car accident and attorney deal and a different injury. I told him how the neuro was not a spine specailist and I felt that at this time I need to go with his practice. I did not want to bad outh the Neuro. That would be not good.

SO the OS went on the explain how my neck problems are treated with the fusion. He gave me a booklet and we went trhough it together. He stated that I was a good candidate because it had been over a year since the injury and no improvement and also six months since the first surgery with little to no improvement.

We continued to discuss my quality of life. I told him about how I am an addict and alcoholic in recovery and how this injury has made it difficult to take part in recovery events and sit in meetings so my meeting attendance is down. i told him how I have always been compliant with th PM and my meds. I explained how my career I have been going to school for the pats 3 years should have had me applied to the nursing program already but because of my neck injury I am behind and if the surgery does not help enough I may have to change my career focus. I told him how every day life stuff that all people do such as grocery shop, wahs dishes or clothes, fix my hair and shower, etc. are all pain intensifiers. I told him how I have no socail life because I pay dearly when I go out to a dinner party for 2 hours and then need to spend a whole day in bed.

He listened to everything! 8) It was really really cool to know and feel that he genuinly cared about me as a person and not some damaged machine part!

So the end result is I am now finally scheduled to have a Two level ACDF with plate and screws at C 4-5 and C 5-6 on September the 3rd. :)
I have tried every traditional method of treatment to get rrelief with no luck. This has been a very long and hard thing to endure as you all know from your own struggles.

So if you have read this far and have any experience with this suregery. Please come forward and share your experiences with me. What do I need to do between now and then to prepare for this surgery? I will have my Mom here after surgery for a while. She may need to drive home and be gone for a few days at which time I may stay with a fried or have someone else come stay here.

Thans for reading all this stuff. It felt soooo goood to get it all out. I know that many of you have been there and continue to be here for me. So thank you for that.



  • a cervical fusion isnt that bad. Granted you will have a sore throat for a little while ad have some trouble swallowing but as long as you keep some soft foods around and eat slowly you'll be okay. I was only kept in the hospital for one night and sent home with a script for painkillers. For the sore throat they gave me throat spray.
    I had my fusion last September and I was doing everything I use to do at least by the beginning of this summer. The only thing that bothers my neck that Ive noticed so far is tilting my head back too much by doing activities such as swimming. Other than that my neck feels like nothing is wrong with it.
    You'll be okay :)
    Christina >:D<
  • Hi Christina!

    Thank you so much for your success story. It is nice to hear good outcomes of surgery.

    I already have the problem of the tilting my head backward. I have a swimming pool and love to swim, but i had to really just go in and cool of this summer more than do actual swimming because it would aggrivate all my symptoms.

    At this point I am excited and nervous all at once. There is a lot to be done before the surgery. i will be having my hair done next week so I wont have to worry about it right after surgery. I already have my books for school but I do need to call my disabilities counselor and inform her of the date etc.

    The blood work and EKG I will try to get done tomorrow if the hospital is not to busy. I also have some things to set up at my church that I would like to do before my surgery.

    I am a bit overwhelmed right now, and I think I am thinking there is soooo much to do when in all reality my Mom will be here for the surgery and afterward to take care of me so I don't have to worry about that too much.

    One think I would like to purchase is something called a wedge pillo. I know that Bed Bath and Beyond has some but I was wanting one that would allow me to be in a bit higher of a reclined position. If anyone knows of where to purchase one I would appreciate the info. I have done some research on line but I am not sure what places are reputable. So if you have purchased this pillow please if you could send a link and possible measurements of the pillow I would appreciate it.

    Once again if anyone would like to give suggestions and tips on how to handle things when I get home they would be much welcomed. I do live alone, but like Isaid my Mom will be her for a while.

    I also have stairs in my home and I am wondering if there is anything I need to know about going up and down the 14 stairs to my bedroom. I can just stay up there for the first few days home if I need to.

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  • I had an ACDF at level c 5-6 and c 6-7 four weeks ago. It was a cage procedure with plate and six screws. I was driving in two weeks. I did not have to ever wear a brace as my NS does not believe in them. I am in physical therapy now for 4-8 weeks to give me strength and muscle tone back. I had severe pain in shoulder, arm and hand before surgery because of a ruptured disc pushing on my spinal cord. After surgery no pain except for some numbness still in fingers. You do have a sore throat after but that wasn't even to bad. Sleeping was not even a problem. I still have a feeling of a lump in my throat when I swallow but my NS says that is normal in very thin woman and can last a few months. Washing my hair was the hardest thing to do in the first week. I went up and down stairs right away with no problems. Discharge directions are different for everyone. I was not allowed to lift over 15lbs for two weeks and no pulling or pushing for four weeks. I had help from family but really didn't need much. I hope all goes well for you! Just think positive and all will be well. Maryann
  • Maryann,

    Thanks for sharing your experience with me. I am always interested in hearing what other peoples experience was/is.

    I am nervous and I have things to do and i don't feel like doing anything.

    This morningn I woke in total pain and I really want to go to church but at the same time I feel sitting and standing are going to bother me more.

    thanks again,

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