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C7 thru C1 plus a year later

just a follow up on  my fusion, c1 to c7 plus occiput?( skull base to spine) lots of hard ware and rods from base of skull to C7, no range of movement at all, but and this is the big one, no problems, no numbness, no tingle, no pain, except an occasional headache from pushing against the hardware,  had to learn lots of ways to do business again, Im a mechanic at a power plant and a volunteer rescue diver.  cant dive or swim because I cant turn my head from side to side so run dive stuff from topside or shore.  cant get the last swallow out of a can of soda so have to use a straw, life is so rough (lol)  the fusion was done with donor bone and done both anterior and posterior at the same time so recovery was a real humdinger for about a month, I was actually walking a couple of miles a day and b ack to work in just under 3 weeks, (light duty) wore a Miami color without fail   for 5  months and put Christmas tree lights in it in December.. still have some trouble swallowing and occasionally some muscle spasms in the neck but not bad. obviously my spelling skills did not improve.  I told I have a wonderful recovery and it is due to good support from awesome spouse, and great sense of humor and attitude. Im 70  years old and have now been given a much longer and pleasant quality of life.  Its been a journey but worth it for the result. If any one out there has questions I would gladly share what worked for me.  Bless you all take care Bill


  • Bill, Your story is quite inspirational. Happy to hear all these good words. I am new to this site. I had a posterior occiput c1 to c4 laminectomy with instrumentation. I am in a Miami collar and have tolerable pain. At this point with the collar off I do not notice any severe neck restrictions,which at some point should be the same as you have.I  was wondering when you began to notice the restrictions in your neck movement. Also how long did it take to get complete fusion? I would appreciate any further advice you may have for me. I am 82 years old so living with the restrictions will not be a hardship.
  • LizLiz Posts: 9,726
    hello buddypap

    please click on the link for useful information


    Veritas-Health Forum Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
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  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 7,270
    hello cabbage47 !
    welcome to spine-health
    please click on link for helpful information!
    Honorary Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • hi and hope this finds you well,  So i noticed the neck restrictions right away, tried to look down around the Miami collar.  knew it was going to be a life changer,  the NS wasnt sure of the occiput to c1 until he actually started the surgery but warned me ahead of time. The fusion seems to be progressing very well and im told the whole process takes about 18 months to be totally complete. I can say that for me i have found that when i bend over my balance is a bit off due to not being able to move my head as a counterweight, i cannot get my mouth open all the way as i cannot tilt my head back so smaller bites when eating, still weak in the arms and have trouble dealing with bi focal glasses as cannot look up or down to adjust vision, small things till you cannot do them, got creative with the daily life stuff. learned to feel more with my hands as cant look sideways without turning whole body, like sitting in a chair and reaching for something on an end table.  still sleeping in a recliner as cannot get my head and neck flat on a bed. So that is some of the little things that one must deal with,  I would tell you that i no longer take things for granted but enjoy life a lot more, forgive my rambling hope you find a grain of useful information in this, take care Bill
  • Bruce EitmanBruce Eitman Akron, OH, USAPosts: 1,510

    Thanks for sharing your story.  I look forward to updates on your recovery - you aren't rambling.


    Read my story at Bruce - My Story
    ACDF C4-C5-C6-C7, and getting better every day
    It has been a process of healing, learning, exercising, and resting - and figuring out when to do which.

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