Itís been just over 3 weeks since my multi-level ACDF surgery on spine vertebrae C 5-7 of my neck. No thanks to the surgeon for supplying adequate pain management, Iím doing better now. I went to see my endocrinologist on the 5th of February. He told me that from the amount of percacet I was taking, as per the surgeonís directions, I would have ended up with kidney disease with all the Tylenol base in the drug. It seems my thyroid is in proper order but with all the other issues with my body, he recommended a super pain management specialist.
This doctor was as thorough as my endo, (who is the 4th one Iíve gone through since July 05 and is an orthopedic surgeon) so I was extremely happy that I was seeing somebody who was ready to treat my entire body. He too, agreed that the amount of percacet I was taking would kill my kidneys & liver. He put me on a higher dosage of pain medication, so Iím taking half the amount of pills plus something for the neurons and something for my nausea & an increased dosage of sleep medicine my GP prescribed before the surgery. Since I started this new regiment of medication, my pain is not as severe as quickly, Iíve mostly slept through the night, (after over a month of not) and my blood pressure has gone down to normal. I do seem to have some left over nerve damage that comes & goes in my hands but I expect it to disappear all together one of these days.
Iíve been getting daily sunlight despite the cold weather and taking antacid with calcium and a calcium supplement in lieu of all the milk, cheese and ice cream the surgeon told me to consume. Both doctors I saw told me that most surgeons donít know much about pain management, just how to cut. Itís pathetic how ignorant the surgeon is but I was bound & determined to be relieved of the pain & get decent nights sleep. ďJust take another percacet when it wakes you in the middle of the night.Ē My surgeon said, but that doesnít cut it with me.
The other day I received my bone growth stimulator that does not feel or sounds like anything, unless it comes unplugged and it beeps. I was told to wear it as much as possible to get the quickest results of bone healing, so Iím wearing it 24/7 except when I shower. Iíve been walking on the treadmill everyday, today I increased my walks to twice a day, granted, Iím only walking 13 minutes each time, itís a lot more than I had been before the surgery.
I had a CT scan and neck X-ray yesterday morning, and then we went to Wal-mart for some shopping. By the time we returned home, I was completely wiped out and look forward to not going anywhere for another week. I want this ordeal to be done but the butcher said Iím to wear my aspen collar the full three months and the pain in my shoulders persists.
Iím trying not to be depressed over the length of time it takes to heal but I donít think Iím the only one in this house who is a bit bummed that Iím not totally back to myself, (like my whole family who has had to pick up where I stopped). I filled out an application so I can take the civil service exam next month, so Iím getting myself occupied with my future endeavors while resting my body as much as it needs.
Iím sorry I didnít get this update out sooner but once I got adequate pain management, when I wasnít sleeping, (the best thing for healing) I was zoning out against my wedge (insurance will reimburse) in front of the TV up high on the armoire in front of the bed, (or radio/mp3 player) & laptop that sits on top of an over the bed table like those in hospitals, (adjusts from 28 Ė 43 inches) but not writing & barely reading while my brain adjusted to the strong medicine. I stay completely away from my family unless I need something or they page me for meals, it's a perfect setup. Lately, Iíve been raging at things going on in the world outside of myself so that must mean Iím on the mend.
You are not alone! I'm sure you've gathered by the other posts...recovery does take a long time, but day by day, we get through. Good that you are looking forward and have your pain somewhat under control (?). I spent the day out and about, and I can relate to the wiped out feeling, even at 6 weeks post-op. As a few others have encouraged me, REST! As I have come to terms with the fact that this time is for healing, and not getting all those things done that I don't have time to do when I'm working full time, it has gotten easier. Good luck!
What type of bone stimulator do you have? I have that big old necklace thing and though it causes no pain (unless I wear earrings) it does cause my neck and back to go into spasms when I wear it. It is cumbersome and as I am not very tall (5'1") it does get heavy. I have to wear it for at least 2 hours at a time for 4 hours per day. I woke up this morning relatively pain free and the minute I put this on and it started rubbing on my shoulders my nerves and muscles started firing. I am getting so frustrated. I was in tears most of Friday as I am so tired of the spasms and pain. I have started Physical Therapy and the ultrasound part put me in tears. I don't mean to sound off and be negative. Everything else is going great. I truly feel I will get way better once I do not have to wear this "Necklace" anymore. It has been 3 months since surgery and even the swelling is not completely gone around my surgical site. I don't know how long it takes for all of that to go away either. If someone has an idea I sure would appreciate it. I also am taking muscle relaxers but they do not seem to help that much. I have tried Lyrica but that stuff makes me looney.
Best to all and hope your day is relatively pain free!
Melinda & all,
I am using an EBI SpinalPak II Fusion Stimulator. It has little wires that stick to my neck. I have to move them to & fro everyday. When the sticky tabs become unsticky, I get another set of wires out of the case they supplied me with. I wear the battery pack around my waste on an adjustable belt or in my sweat shirt pocket. I do not feel anything so it doesn't bother me at all. I wouldn't be too happy wearing such a cumbersome device as you have described.
As for swelling, I can honestly say at almost 4 weeks post op, I have very little, if any swelling. My incision site is tender but healing nicely, my surgeon did a fine job, he just didn't follow up with proper pain management. My pain is mainly in my shoulders & back of the neck. I also take lyrica for a muscle relaxer but only take it before bed, I don't take any during the day.