**** I know I wrote mini novella - sorry about that! Any help/suggestions/insight would be greatly appreciated!****
I went to my neurosurgeon on Friday 5/25/12 to discuss lumbar & SI joint fusion (damaged when I slipped on a wet stair case 10/31/11), however when his PA checked my reflexes, she noticed hyperreflexia, and after a few more tests in the office, it was decided that I needed an MRI & follow up with the neuro ASAP. They squeezed me in for an MRI on Tuesday (it was already after 6pm when I left his office on Friday, & Monday was a holiday), and got me in for follow up with the neurosurgeon Wednesday (yesterday).
The MRI showed that the C4-5 was collapsed & putting pressure on the spinal cord, C5-6 was "precarious", and C6-7 was completely collapsed and the giant dent in my spinal cord was obvious even to my untrained eye. Because of the pressure on the spinal cord, it was decided that I need a 3 level ACDF from C4-7 before they can even consider starting to treat the lumbar facet & SI joint problems, or I could be paralyzed from the neck down during intubation (or if I fall, which is entirely possible since my right leg drops and both of my feet go numb, or if I even have a little fender bender!).
We had NO idea there was any damage to my cervical spine, in fact I had an EMG done a month or so ago because of intermittent numbness in my left arm & hand, but that came back clear, and I was told that there was nothing wrong with my neck, and the PMR & pain mgmt doctor both dismissed my request for a cervical MRI, telling me that there was nothing wrong with my neck, and an MRI was not necessary.
My neurosurgeon is wonderful, and took the time to explain the surgery, the reasons it is necessary, and answered all of the questions I had for him - I have absolute confidence in his abilities, but this came totally out of the blue.
I was mentally prepared for the idea of lumbar & SI surgeries, but ACDF isn't something I've researched for months on end like the lumbar & SI fusions, and it scares the beejeebers out of me!
I'm 33, long winded (you probably already noticed that!
), a total Type-A, and while I keep telling people it's going to be okay, inside I'm terrified.
I know I'll be in the hospital for at least 4 days (1 in ICU, then 1 day per level minimum on a surgical floor so the neurosurgeon can keep an eye on me), and in a collar for 6 weeks minimum, but aside from that, I really don't know what to expect - I've found some great info on 1 level ACDFs, but it looks like 3 level's is a game changer.
Any help or insight would be greatly appreciated - what can I expect when I'm released? Realistically how long will it take to recover? What will I want to do & be surprised that I can't? Just... anything you can tell me, or any links you can provide would be wonderful
Thanks for reading my whole long winded story (or even skimming it
Slipped on a wet stair case the morning of 10/31/11, landed flat on my tush & blew up my spine & both SI joints.
3 level ACDF C4-C7 7/11/12 (collapsed discs & severe cord compression)
lumbar fusion to be scheduled once healed from ACDF