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Newbie and very scared

azzie21aazzie21 Posts: 30
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:25 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery


I had a ACDF on C4-C5 in March 2005. My diagnosis was severe spinal cord compression and my symptoms were pretty bad. Not only was I numb from the hands up to my elbows, but I was terribly off balance and falling down all the time. After this surgery I regained the feeling in my hands and arms, my balance was much better and I thought that was that.

Unfortunately, my balance started to once again deteriorate last year - I didn't go to my Dr. at the time, as my husband of 44 years was dying of cancer. He passed away May 7, 2008.

It took me awhile, but I finally made an appt. for my spinal problems in Oct. I was referred to the neurologist who referred me to the neurosurgeon.

I'm very concerned as the neurosurgeon says that a posterior laminectomy from C3-C7 fusion with my own bone and cadaver bone needs to be done. She also told me that I would have "significant loss of range of motion moving my head from side to side and also up and down".

I am going to have a phone appt. with her Tuesday, Nov. 25th at 9:a.m. (PST) as I have many questions. When I was at her office I was so shocked, that I simply didn't comprehend everything she told me.

The MRI basically explains that my cervical spine has worsened since 2005. The MRI says "C3-C4 disc is suspected to have developed at least moderately severe degenerative disc height loss since 3-28-05".

The MRI goes on listing C5-C7 - mainly stenosis has increased, development of a posterior disc-osteophyte complex.(Whatever that is - I "Googled it, but didn't find any real answers).

I would like to know if anyone has had their neck fused and have you had this many disc's fused? What is your range of motion???????? That is my biggest concern - will I never be able to move my head side to side? How will I be able to drive?

I would appreciate any and all replies to help me understand a bit more as to why my doctor thinks I have to be fused, and if so, is the range of motion permanent?

Sorry if I made a mess of this post. My mind simply cannot wrap around this right now.




  • I don't know much about the cervical part of all of this but I do want to you know that I am sorry about all the pain you have had to endure. I am sorry about your spouse and I hope you can move forward from averything. I am here if you just want to talk.. Stay strong and keep going... you can pm me or email me at kellijune25@hotmail.com
  • I THINK osteophytes are bone spurs. Almost positive. So, I'd assume the other fancy wording along with it is just describing where the are located and the affect they are having. Sounds like you had the bone spurs from the degeneration of the discs. I was just told today that that's how bone spurs can come about.
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  • and I am sorry for all the pain you are going through as well as the loss of your husband.
    osteophytes are bone spurs..I had them in my neck and they were removed during my surgery. I only had one level fused, but the doctor did say I had DDD above and below and he couldn't guarentee I would not have problems with those levels. Others here have more experience; hopefully they will offer some input. Try to stay positive; although I know it is hard and scary. Donna
  • I am so sorry you are having so much pain! I had lumbar fusion, so I don't know anything about cervical issues. I know the last few months have been h### for you. I lost my hubby of 34 years to a brain tumor about 10 years ago and can't imagine having to go through this just a few months after losing him. My heart really goes out to you. Please be very good to yourself and remember we are here to support you and give you hugs! >:D< >:D< >:D< Keep us posted on how you are doing, ok?
  • I had a 2 level cervical fusion done a month ago (c4-6) and that went pretty well as far as clearing up the symptoms that I had but there is definitely a loss where range of motion is concerned. I haven't started PT yet so I'm not sure how much I would gain back. It sounds like your entire neck will be fused so I'm sure yours will be much worse. Sorry to hear about that. Ask your dr about how much will be lost. Will you still be able to drive? I would think if you'll still be able to drive your range of motion would be at least enough to function at a level of self-sufficiency. Good luck and keep us posted.
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  • Thank you so much Kellih,

    It's been a little over 6 months since Harley (hubby) passed away (esophageal cancer). So right now with the holidays and the thought of surgery, I'm not quite as cheery as all the ads on TV say that I should be! LOL

    I've been blessed with a wonderful family and amazing friends who have surrounded me with love and comfort. I will be ok - I know that. Right now though, it pretty much sucks :(

    Gentle hugs,
  • Thank you Lo,

    Yes, I have found out that the fancy word DOES mean bone spurs! Why can't they just SAY bone spurs?????????

    I was reading your spinal history and your age - I'm so sorry that you have gone through this at such a young age. you are far too young and I'm so sorry this has happened to you at this time in your life.

    However, saying that, you sound like you are a very strong young woman, and I have full faith that you will get along just fine.

    Gentle hugs,
  • Thank you Donna,

    It's been a bit over 6 months since Harley passed away, and as I was telling someone else, the happy, chipper TV ads don't help me at all! I remember when my father died - it was November 1993. All I could think about when I was out of the house is "why are all of these people so darn happy? Don't they know that my dad just died??????"

    I am blessed with a wonderful family and amazing friends. They have given me much love and comfort and continue to do so. I will get through this - right now it's just so raw and now the holidays are her and then I'm faced with possible surgery. Just a bit much, but I will be ok.

    Gentle hugs,
  • Thank you Joy,

    Lumbar fusion, cervical fusion - both are going to be painful. Any type of surgery is painful, and I've had my fair share. I really had not planned on having any more surgeries after my 2005 fusion! But as you know, we do not know what lies ahead, and I'm thankful for that!

    I'm very sorry to hear that you lost your hubby 10 years ago. Regardless of how long, it's especially painful during the holidays. My dad passed away in November 1993 and that was one of the worst "holiday" season that I can recall. Now it seems like I will be going through another "worst".

    But I will be ok - I have a wonderful family and amazing friends. I have a son, daughter-in-law and a 4 1/2 year old grandson :) I will be just fine - just let me get through the next few months, take a breath and then I'll figure out what to do about my neck.

    I did have a phone appt. this morning with the NS. She said that I could wait until after the holidays, and at this time, it's not critical that I have the surgery. No myelopathy this time; my balance is poor and I have a lot of pain, but I'm not falling down or dropping things like I was in 2005.

    Thank you again for your kind and loving words of comfort.

    Gentle hugs,
  • Thank you Sarah,

    I hope that you are feeling better now - one month is still not a long time, but I hope that the surgery pain has lessened for you.

    I had a phone appt. this morning with my NS and she said that I would lose a lot of ROM in my neck. She said that I would only have about 30% ROM, but that I could eventually drive again - thank God! She said that I would have to re-learn some of my daily activities such as making beds, cleaning, etc.

    Now that I live alone, I'm much more aware of the difficulties that lie ahead if I have this surgery. I have wonderful friends and family, but eventually I will still have to manage on my own. I will be able to do it - I know that. Right now though, it's just plain scary :(

    Gentle hugs,
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