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Surgery day around the corner for ACDF ...What were your day of and day after experiences?

tuppmom5ttuppmom5 TexasPosts: 9
edited 10/21/2016 - 3:25 PM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Ok guys this is really happening! I had my pre op on Tuesday, I have my cervical collar ready to go and I'm gonna start packing my bag. Surgery is at 7am on Monday. I'm trying to mentally prepare also so I'm wondering.... How did you feel right after your surgery and how did you feel the following days? Can I expect to be tired or have my normal energy? Be sore where they cut? Be sore where they took out disc and put the plate? Feel like I can do more than I should? Feel weak and helpless? Any insight as to how you felt after your surgery would be awesome!!


  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 13,434
    Ok tuppmom5,
    To me the most anxious time I had was the actual day of the surgery.. I was wheeled into a room where the nurse started all the questions. Since I have been through this so many times, my answers were almost canned.
    But then as that finished and they started to bring me into to the pre-op room, things changed. What really changed was having to kiss my wife and hold her hand and saying everything is going to be ok. . I know that, but still saying that while laid out on a table was hard to take.
    Then I had 1,507.99 people come to me asking about my surgery, where was it, what is my name, DOB, etc\
    I know they have to ask these questions, but I wasnt alway that quick to respond.
    Then I was whelled away into the surgical room. Everything seem so normal... Into the room, depending on what kind of surgery I was having, they either rolled me, dipped me or twisted me into the correct position for sugery.

    Next major scare, after surgery, when they say Are you OK.. First thing I did was try to wiggle my toes (success) then wiggle my fingers (again success) to what else could be wrong?

    I think for everyone, that the day of surgery could be made a bit easier on the patient by telling them what is happening step by step. I have found the more I know about something, the better I can deal with it.

    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences 
  • Bruce EitmanBruce Eitman Akron, OH, USAPosts: 1,510

    Everyone probably has different answers to those questions.

    Tired? yes, the anesthesia may take some tome to really wear off and your body will be repairing itself.

    Incision? My be tender, but if done right shouldn't hurt much. Same with disc.

    Feel like you can do more than you should? I hope so!! If all goes well you will, but remember that you need to rest while you heal. Walking is a good thing, but don't overdo it, listen to your body.

    Weak and helpless? I hope not, but accept and ask for help.


    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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  • CHOLMCCHOLM OregonPosts: 66
    Hi Tuppmom, I myself had a 3 level ACDF C-3 through C-6 on september 22. I just had my 4 week anniversary yesterday.
    I have posted updates in other areas on this website and will copy and paste for convenience :)

    Surgery for my 3 level ACDF went well. It is almost my 3 weeks anniversary. I have to tell you.. the first week.. I am so so glad I had someone with me 24/7. It is all true what others are saying about that first week you are pretty needy! OMG, the swallowing thing... was just wierd. I ate nothing but soft foods and drank Carnation instant breakfast. So let me back up. I went into surgery about noon on September 22nd 2016. Just to let you all know you have to donate blood for any surgery well in advance.. not the day before like I thought. Anyway, I was in surgery for about 4 hours. After recovery I was wheeled to my room and all I was asked was what I wanted to pain. I was thinking.. What pain? I guess the surgery good stuff hadnt worn off yet. But they started giving me percocet 2 at a time. after a couple of hours I was asked how I was doing for pain. I had noticed that my neck and shoulders were starting to bother me..so I asked for more pain meds. They stepped it up to Morphine. I think it was about an hour later the pain seemed to be getting worse so I asked for more pain meds. They stepped it up to another typed of pain med.. Dilaudid. Boy howdy did that knock out any kind of pain I even thought of. After that I was just given Percocet - 2 every 4 hours. That seemed to keep me comfy. I was discharged the next day about noon. It felt great to go home. I had to wear my hard collar in the car and was glad I had a pillow to put behind my head for the ride home. Your neck is pretty tired and it gets exhausting trying to steady your head. lol I had my niece with me all the time after I got home so it made it really nice. She fetched me water, I drank a ton of water...made me jello, gave me pudding, cooked me oatmeal...brought me ice packs and heat packs.. I was fortunate to not need help with bathroom duties. The only help I really needed was getting up sometimes and lifting the handle on my recliner to make it recline. She also covered me up with blankets when needed. Some movements just didnt feel so hot doing. I did nothing for 3 - 4 days except rest, eat soft foods, and take my pain meds. Very important to make sure you just take them as directed and not wait for the pain to set in. I took percocet 1 every 4 hours around the clock. I also was taking Soma, a muscle relaxer.. 3 times a day. I would take those with my percocet to help me relax and sleep. I had to change my bandage every day. The tape made my skin on my neck pretty sore and irritated. Im pretty sure just having to replace that tape so much is what irritated my skin so much. I think it was the 2nd day I took a shower. Before surgery I had installed a hand held shower. That was the best thing I did. I also bought a shower chair.. also very good idea. Before getting in the shower I wrapped my neck with cling wrap to try and keep the bandage from getting water logged. It helped but did not keep it dry. After my shower is when I would change my dressing. and wouldnt worry about it until the next day. The button down PJ's worked well also and I pretty much lived in PJ's. The 2nd week I felt pretty good.. still taking percocet every 4 hours but skipped some doses of the muscle relaxer. I noticed I could do more things by myself, like carrying my pillows from the recliner to the couch, back to the recliner, to the couch.. I think you get the idea you do not sleep for long periods of time before you get restless and need to find a different position. I wore my soft collar for sleeping, but I found my neck pillow (like the ones you use for airplane trips) worked well for neck support also. So I would use that while I was just watching TV. By the end of the 2nd week I was taking short walks, very short, but none the less it got me out of the house for 5 mins and got my blood flowing. I was told by my doctor to wear my hard collar for these walks just for protection in case of an unexpected fall. This last week I had my 2 week followup with my doctor and he said I was healing well. I was now allowed to lift 20 pounds -previously it was 5 pounds. I was happy to be able to pour my own milk on my cereal ! He wants to see me in another month and we will talk about when I will return for work. We had previously talked about it being at least 8 weeks..I asked my doc if we could stay close to that time and not go back too soon as I know how I am.. I have a tendency to be an over achiever I do not want to over do it. So now I am close to my 3rd week ...I have walked a 1/2 mile for the last 4 days, I have been able to have friends take me to short grocery shopping trips, even go over to friends house and sit around for an hour or so .. just to change the scenery. I do not have to have a bandage on anymore also. The stitches will dissolve themselves and the steri strips will fall off by themselves too. I dont have to worry about getting my neck wet either.. just no direct water pressure on my wound. Not supposed to soak it either...like if you want to take a bath.. just dont let your neck rest in the water. I lack alot of energy but I know I will get that back a little bit at a time. I see progress. I only take 1 percocet a day and my swallowing has gotten so much easier. I still have to wash food down with water but it is no biggie. My voice is getting better also. I would have trouble talking on the phone for more that 15 minutes because my voice box was weak. That is getting stronger too. I will see my doctor Nov 7th for my 6 week follow up. I plan on asking him if I can start trying to drive again here in a week or so. Im looking at this letter and thinking wow.. this kinda got out of hand but I just wanted to share what I have gone through so far. Looking back, it was scary but being on this side of it is much much better. Im glad I did it now. :) I will keep you all posted .. and until next time.. be good and take care ! "
  • redbud64rredbud64 CaliforniaPosts: 33
    Hi Cholm! Your post was very informative for me. I'm going to keep following this forum, my surgery is 11-8-16, C3 thru C6. Thanks so much!
  • CHOLMCCHOLM OregonPosts: 66
    Redbud, This forum and the posts really helped me too. That is why when I came across this website I decided to start my own blog in the back surgery and neck surgery area.. "Facing ACDF surgery my diary your diary getting through it with each other." I have posted there and so have others :)
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