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ACDF C4-7, waiting to schedule



  • Hi Kim - thanks for the info!
    My surgeon has already said he is going to give me a bone stimulator to help with the fusion/bone growth.

    My future MIL wants to come take care of me during recovery (they live in NY, we're in FL), but as much as I love her and would love to have her help, I'm not sure where the heck we can put her - we live in a 1 bedroom condo, I pretty much live on our couch, and often am in the livingroom half the night because I'm unable to sleep, even with the sleeping pills (I've been functioning on an average of 2-4h sleep/day since the accident), and I don't want to keep my other half awake when he has to get up for work at 7am!

    I'll have to look for a cervical pillow! I do have a travel pillow (the crescent shaped one sold in airports), I think I'll dig that out and see if it helps - thanks!

    I know exactly what you mean about your head feeling like it weighs 1000 pounds!!! I told the surgeon that sometimes I feel like my head is going to fall off, and he told me it was because of the collapsed discs not doing their job supporting the weight of my head & forcing the neck muscles to do all the work - my head really does want to fall off lol

    My neurosurg is younger too (early 40s I think, looks even younger), but I'm starting to think he's very conservative in order to give best possible outcomes? I dunno. Maybe the collar is because of the cord compression, or because my neck is currently straight, or because of the other spine issue, or just because he errs on the side of caution. Whatever the reason, I'll do whatever he says - I want this to be huge success! :)

    I'm so looking forward to the pain being lifted! I'm at the point that after the ACDF and any other surgeries I might need are done, I'll be happy if I can make dinner and spend time with friends without overwhelming pain - when this all started, I wanted my life to go back to normal & be able to do everything I used to be able to do, but now, while I'd still love to be "normal", I'll be happy with the little stuff!

    I wish you had dish & laundry fairies, and I'm so glad you didn't reinjure your neck falling down the stairs! I can only imagine how scary that must have been for you!

    How do you use your kindle? I'm trying to figure out how I'll be able to hold it to read without tipping my head down, or holding it up! Both of my hands go numb & the left arm goes numb from the elbow down fairly regularly - hoping that's fixed with the ACDF, but right now it's tough to use even laying down!
    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
  • i can only agree with the above comments, i had mine the day after vin, i was told i would be in icu for one maybe two days then on ward for another 3-5, i was released from the high dependancy ward the very next day after my op! never even got to a ward! i was told just a couple of weeks before my op that after reviewing the mri i would need a bigger op. like you i found it very very scary and came on this site to ask for help. there is great advice on the "after surgery" bit. i had trouble swallowing, even liquids for a few days, then just made sure i had plenty of water beside every meal and took my time. (usually eat far too fast i realise now!) good luck and i think we are allowed to feel scared at these times, if not now... then when! will be looking out for your journey x
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  • I bought a recliner solely for my recovery, and it's the kind that you pull a handle to recline and then use your legs to push down the leg supports back into the recliner. It was cheaper and worked/works well for me. One of the things I like about it now is that with my lumbar problems, I can sit in it and only recline slightly, with my feet just a little above the ground. I don't have to recline fully or not at all, I can recline in little increments and that helps my lumbar a lot.

    I also used it after my TLIF, although I had to put pillows in the back to move me forward a bit. It was too deep to support my lower back during that recovery.

    I think it would be wonderful to have your future MIL come to help. My hubby slept on the couch next to me in the living room while I slept in the recliner because he wanted to be close in case I needed anything (our bedroom is upstairs). If your BF wants to do that, that leaves the bedroom open for your future MIL to sleep in. It would only need to be for a week or 10 days, then you can get along alone pretty well with the suggestions here. Just a thought.

    With the hard brace, you probably won't need a neck pillow until it comes off. Even then, with your surgeon sounding conservative like mine, I imagine you'll be in a soft brace for a month or two after the hard brace comes off. I was in a hard brace for 4 weeks and a soft brace for 8 after that.

    I asked for a bone growth stimulator, which my doctor gave me. He felt it was a little like voodoo, but he said it couldn't hurt and if I wanted one he'd get me one.

    I also felt like my head was very heavy before surgery because like you, the discs at my 3 levels were non-existent and bone-on-bone. What amazed me the most (besides the arm symptoms being gone immediately post-op, of course) was that I had started to develop a waddle under my chin and it was gone after surgery. Isn't that hilarious? The waddle was because my discs were gone and my head was sitting lower on my shoulders than it should've been. Adding discs to those levels added about 1 inch in height and I got a face-lift to boot. LOL

    As for your Kindle, my guess is that you'll be able to lift it up to see it after your surgery, if hopefully your arm symptoms are gone like they are for so many of us. But if your symptoms aren't gone immediately, they do regenerate once the pressure is off of them, but at a slow rate. But hopefully the nerve problems aren't permanent. Luckily you've only been going through this for months - some go through this for years and they have immediate relief, so I have hope for you.

    You've got a great attitude with all the problems you're facing and that's half the battle. Some people have a very hard time coming to grips with the massive change in their lives that comes with being a spiney and I applaud you for that.

    Take care of yourself and of course, continue to keep us posted and ask questions if you have any. There's a post-op must-haves sticky in the surgery section, but many of them are for lumbar surgery post-op, like the raised toilet seat and satin sheets/pajamas. Cervical post-op requires less, but straws, grabber, comfy "station", meds, soft foods and help are great to have.

  • I have to say that i've heard lots of people say that the recliner helped them immensely and i actually thought seriously about getting one,but i waited to see how i was after my surgery and the day that i got home i went straight for my bed and fell right to sleep. My bed never felt so good. For me laying flat on my back was the best position.The pain that i had before my surgery was gone and it was just the surgical pain that i had so i didn't have all the other stuff to deal with.I'm not saying don't get one but i'd say that there not the complete answer to dealing with the pain after surgery. I think that your thinking from the perspective that your having now and not from how your might feel afterwards.
  • 9 days in the hospital was a little disheartening. But, I was still asleep/intubated, when I should have been going home. I do still feel like i have a lump in my throat. I think it's from the extended intubation. Hopefully, it will go away soon.

    Regarding the brace...my doc says that I have so many plates, screws, and cages, that I can't do do any damage from not using the brace. I should wear it out to worn people to stay away from my neck, and to prevent further damage if I were in a car accident. It also helps when my neck gets tired. I think some docs feel "better safe than sorry", while others feel than the sooner you start moving around, the better.
    - Vin

    3 level ACDF, c3/4, c5/6/7 in May 2012
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  • Then another 6 weeks while in the car and showering. It depends on the doctor. Like the ICU-most don't spend the first night there. I was in the hospital for 2 days on the ortho/spine floor of the hospital where I had my surgery. I had ice cream for breakfast both days:)

    Good luck to you Cheeky. Make sure you follow ALL of your surgeon's post op instructions and you should do fine in the recovery process.
  • I already had the recliner. I slept in it most nights before the surgery for about 8 months because I could not sleep in my bed. During the recovery it was much easier to use it too. I was finally able to sleep in my bed about 4 months after the surgery. I was never so happy!
  • CheekyCCheeky Posts: 40
    edited 06/14/2012 - 2:58 PM
    Just wanted to say thank you for all of the advice & well wishes I've received :) I wasn't able to log in for a bit, so sorry I'm a bit late in responding!

    Since I last posted, I've scheduled the ACDF for 7/10/12, my future MIL is booking a flight to come down & take care of me after surgery (and take care of her amazing son while I'm in surgery, etc). She had a 360 from T5-S2 4 years ago (horrible scoliosis), so she knows what to expect, plus she's just an all out wonderful person, so I'm really looking forward to having her around for a few weeks :) She's also planning to come help out & take care of me after the next surgery (likely L3-S2 followed by right SI), as she knows the low back tends to be tougher to recover from. I'm really feeling blessed to have this amazing support from her as I don't have any immediate family remaining that would be able to help, and while I have fantastic friends, I think taking care of me might be a bit much to ask!

    Cath, you mentioned the positive attitude - I think it comes from watching my now 89yo grandmother while I was growing up - she has had more back surgeries than I can count (and was in a full body cast for nearly a year after one of them), to correct all of her spine issues, and has also had a host of other medical issues. She still keeps a smile on her face most days, and looks for the silver lining in every cloud - she's kind of my hero :) AND, if I get a mini face lift & an extra inch out of the surgery, I'll be thrilled! I was 5'2 before the accident & have lost a little height - I'd like to be back to my full 5'2 (I'm too darn short not to want that bit I lost back!! lol)

    I found out yesterday that one of my dear friends & former co-workers daughters is the charge nurse on the neurosurg/spine ward at the hospital I'll be having the surgery at, so we're hoping she'll be assigned to me! She had nothing but good things to say about my surgeon, and it was nice to have independent confirmation from someone in the "know" :)

    I was told by the surgical scheduler that they may release me from the hospital after a few days rather than the 4minimum, but that it was dependent in part upon me being able to walk 200ft unassisted. Does that mean 200ft without my cane, or 200ft without someone holding me up??? I'm barely able to walk 100ft without my cane now, so I'm a little concerned about that one!

    Thank you again for all of the information & well wishes!
    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
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