I am new to this forum. I'm not sure what all I need to share and not share but here goes. I've been experiencing pain in my neck for years now but it became severe in February of this year. I made multiple visits to the local ER due to excruciating pain due to spasms followed by x-rays, mri, and myelogram. I tried treating it with a series of three epidural steroid injections which did help some only to have the pain return within weeks. I then attempted physical therapy which actually made everything much worse. Per my gen. practitioner's advice, I met with a spine surgeon and am now scheduled for ACDF surgery on November 21. While I am anxious to proceed with the surgery because I am hopeful it will help me, I am also extremely nervous. I'm told this is a major surgery from several other people who have gone through this. But I am also told it really helped them. I am fortunate in that I am having an incredibly competent surgeon perform it. He has been doing this for 31 years and is highly respected throughout the entire state. Whenever people ask me who is doing the surgery and I tell them they always say, "Wow, you couldn't have a better surgeon!" I am a 47 year-old and have had multiple surgeries in the past, several of them major, but for some reason I am uneasy about this one. I am hoping someone else who has been through this can share their experience with me. I've always been told I am a very strong individual and have a high pain tolerance so that doesn't really concern me. It's the "what-ifs". Things like: is it possible for your airways to completely shut off due to the post-surgery swelling? I mean, if it can swell enough to make swallowing difficult then isn't this a possibility? I have had issues with swelling in the past and have required steroids on one occasion. And what do they mean by "difficulty swallowing"? Ridiculous things like this seem to permeate my thoughts. I would greatly appreciate any feedback others are willing to provide.
Diagnosis: Degenerative cervical disk disease at C4, C5, C6, C7, cervical spinal canal stenosis with cord flattening, bone spurs.