I have a provisional surgery date of the 21st May...eeek! It's provisional because they haven't had my pre-op bloods back yet and also because if there are any cancellations, they're going to book me in even sooner. Anxiety is reaching screaming pitch here...what are the chances they could keep me sedated until then? lol! It's about time though, I have nearly gone flat on my face many times this last week and it's getting hard to type. Wish me luck? Calm my fears around waking up paralyzed, mid-operation, and/or unable to breathe?
Awww I felt your anxiety just reading your post! What are you having done? Maybe, just maybe, if you call them and let them know about your anxiety, they might give you something. It's worth a shot. I'm crossing my fingers for you to have a successful surgery and recovery! People don't really wake up mid operation do they? That's the kind of anxiety I don't need! Keep us posted! ~Hugs, Kenzi.
The Following User Says Thank You to kenzibenzi For This Useful Post: rannch (04-25-2012)
Thanks Kenzi. It's ACDF of C5/6 to decompress my spinal cord from a 'massive' disc prolapse. I know it's small potatoes compared to some poor souls on here, but it's the second surgery ever for me and the first was very minor (a partial toe amputation). That's why I'm so anxious. It worried me greatly that they took blood for crossmatching in the event of a transfusion and well, just everything about it is making me very anxious. Not been a good week anyway so far as my grandma had a stroke on Monday but she's improving, I'm getting nearer being mended and I need to give myself a kick up the bum and not be so soft. Thanks for replying. Rachel x
So sorry to hear about your grandma, SUPER glad she is improving!
They always do the blood thing before surgery, don't worry about that. I've had surgery before, but I've never had surgery on my neck either. I have a very big bone spur at my C5-6 and it's squeezed the spinal canal down to 7-8mm. I have an appointment with an orthopedic spine surgeon on May 23th....very nervous!
Sounds like you and I have problems in the same area of the neck, just a different cause. I don't know if I will have to have surgery, but how else will they free up the cord? This has been keeping me up at night, not only with pain, but lots of worry.
We can go through this together! I know what you mean about others on this board having it way worse then we do, but when it comes to spine surgery, we're all in this together! We all have the same worries, concerns and fears. Keep us posted, even if you just need to vent. ~Hugs, Kenzi!
The following user gives a hug of support to kenzibenzi: rannch (04-25-2012)
The Following User Says Thank You to kenzibenzi For This Useful Post: rannch (04-25-2012)
Aw Kenzi, thanks so much for the support. I hugely appreciate it. I am a single mum to 4 children so this has knocked me for six in terms of feeling like I'm not particularly capable of looking after them, (I've got serious mobility problems plus the old useless hands thing going on)and I'm anxious about the recovery period, having to rely on offers of help from mums of kids they're at school with. I'm a bit of a wuss to be honest and also used to being independent...lots of emotional stuff for all of us to deal with. I hope you get fixed soon and yes, that sounds great. We can go through it together. next hurdle for me is my spinal assessment next Wednesday when I meet the physio, the spinal nurse and the occupational therapist to discuss what help and /or mobility aids I might need post-operatively....I am such a novice at hospitals, I thought I'd be going in as a day case for the surgery, hopefully my sister is going to come and play at being me for a day or two I just hope she can give out the sarcasm to my 16 year old lol!!!!! xxx
The following user gives a hug of support to rannch: kenzibenzi (04-25-2012)
C5and 6 were the ones I broke after having my C3 to C6 laminoplasty. The laminoplasty was great....got rid of all my numbness but for some reason...maybe damage from abuse(the suspected cause) or from the weakening of all the tendons in my spine due to RA...no one knows why but I broke the lamina of C6 and the bone grafts at C5 and 6. The left side broken lamina lodged in the left C6 nerve where it joined the cord. The right side was broken as well but did minimal damage to the right side nerve. So when they fixed my neck, C6 had no lamina so all so the cord was exposed and the bone was just kind of crammed in between C5 and C7 and held there with bone putty. 6 fused vertebrae but only 5 have screws in them!
You'd be surprised just how much damage your neck can take and you can still recover. I had a paralyzed left arm, partially paralyzed left leg and some mixed right sided paralysis. But with time and PT, it's all gone. I can feel the weakness returning in my left arm if I don't keep up exercising it but other than that...all gone.
So unless you plan on breaking your neck between then and now, I think you'll find that you'll be just fine. Paralysis is a factor but with a good doc and an ACDF, it is very rare. The smaller the surgery, the less the paralysis factor. Yours is as small as it comes.
And waking up during surgery? No way. They give the heaviest anesthesia of all for spinal surgery as that is the last place they want a patient to "twitch". I don't even remember waking up in the recovery room for either of my neck surgeries but this past one, I actually woke up in recovery.....amazing. But they put you way under for spine surgery and you won't wake up during surgery.
Breathing is a concern as they push the throat to the side to do the procedure but you will be intubated and breathing just fine.
Now, if your worried about all of them together...waking up during surgery, paralyzed and unable to breathe....don't freak out. Most hospitals now put monitors on your forehead that tell them if you are "out". It can happen...I was not completely out when they started my carpal tunnel surgery and felt the incision and tried to scream...but couldn't...and it's haunted me since.....so it's okay to tell them you are concerned. They didn't have the forehead monitors back then.
This is a really common surgery and if you've chosen a doc carefully and know you have a good doc you can trust, then everything should go okay. I get typed and cross matched every time. My hospital tests everyone for MRSA and staph....I got caught with staph this time(but no MRSA) and had to go through a 5 day treatment for that prior to surgery. My RA(rheumatoid arthritis) was so bad in my elbows they couldn't take my blood pressure without causing severe pain so I got an arterial blood pressure monitor put in this time. All I got put in before surgery was an IV.....everything else as done once I was out. Was about as painless a surgery as you can have. I was well doped up by the time I woke up.
They are learning how to make surgery as painless as possible these days...with pre and post op meds and by doing stuff you'd never think of.......my doc insists that instead of the big tubes they use in your throat to keep you breathing, they use fiber optic tubes that are smaller and don't irritate the throat nearly as much and they don't have to bend your head back either.....a little thing that makes a difference afterwards.
Each doc works differently......mine has his own OR in this hospital as he does intra-operative MRI work and there's an MRI machine in the OR)but they know, the better they treat you, the faster you'll recover and the more referrals they will get.
Relax. It's not a toe amputation but it is not a big surgery either. Big to you...yes...and important to your doc but I got to spend 6 hours in the OR and did have the blood transfusions and was kept intubated for hours until the swelling came down and had all the major stuff you see in the medical shows.....was in bad shape for a while...but even I recovered and wasn't supposed to. My doc said the left arm would not come back....and I proved him wrong. And he said this last surgery 4 weeks ago was 50/50 at best and I had improvement within hours of surgery...proved him wrong again.
I fully believe that our attitude is as important as anything. We believe we will be okay and we will be....that and finding the very best doc you can find. I knew I'd be okay and my doc knew he could fix me and that was all we both needed.
You'll do just fine.
The Following User Says Thank You to jennybyc For This Useful Post: kenzibenzi (04-25-2012)
Hi, I'm new here and just read Jenny's post and I agree with everything she has said.
I've had 3 ACDF surgeries within the last 6 years, and am fused from C2-T1. Now I've got lumbar issues, just had an MRI last Monday. I'm waiting to see my NS to see how he wants to progress with that.
You will be fine, the further from the brain, the easier the recovery. My first surgery was C4-C7 and the recovery was not that bad. The worst of it was the surgery on my iliac crest where the NS took bone to graft into my spine. It took a while to get back on my feet, and I initially had to walk with a walker, then graduated to a cane. Will your doc be using your own bone or cadaver bone?
I also had to wear a hard collar for 3 months, only allowed to take it off to shower. This was done for all 3 surgeries.
There is minimal bleeding when done anterior, more bleeding when the procedure is done posterior, but even then, blood transfusions are extremely rare, but they need to be prepared for anything.
You will do fine, I totally understand the nerves, there is a lot of anxiety that goes along with these types of procedures. Remember to take care of yourself after the surgery, don't try to do too much too soon. This takes time to heal, listen to your body. If you're tired, stop and rest, it'll make your recovery so much better.
Thanks guys! I'm still anxious, but Jenny thanks for the comment about heavy anaesthetic, my sister has had 2 episodes of anaesthetic awareness but these were during gynae surgeries which apparently are notorious for light anaesthesia, I do feel better now you've said that. I haven't had a choice of surgeon or hospital, I live in the UK and under the NHS you get who you're given, that said, he's a spinal surgeon(orthopaedic) and I do have faith in him. I guess a lot of my fears stem from him saying how difficult the disc material was going to be to winkle out and also the big long list of risks and complications he gave me....but mainly the fact I am a wuss! I hate the feeling of going under anaesthetic, that total loss of control terrifies me and the only reason I'm agreeing to the surgery is that he told me that the myelopathy would only get worse without it (I'm affected seriously already), while stressing that I was an urgent case. That scared me more than the prospect of the operation! (but only just)
I will *try* to be brave. I know that this is small potatoes compared to you multiple op guys, but it's huge to me.
You are absolutely entitled to feel apprehensive, it's your body and you are only human. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Can't wait to see you post about how much better you are feeling after having this procedure.
I know, the risks and complications could scare the bejesus out of anyone. Have you ever listened to the side effects from medication? You would think with all the risks involved people wouldn't take meds or have surgery. This is what the doctors and drug companies have to do to cover themselves. I'm sure you will be ok; it's wonderful to have a place to come to voice your concerns and fears and have others that know what you are going through. Wish I would have known about this place prior to my surgeries.
Hang in there, I know easier said than done. You've got a lot of people with you during this time. God Bless!
The Following User Says Thank You to NJ Ldy For This Useful Post: rannch (04-26-2012)
Thank you NJ Ldy. That means a lot to me. I have actually been out this evening!!! I am a poet and had been asked to perform at a literary event, I was concerned about feeling self conscious (with the ridiculous spastic walk and stick) seeing people I hadn't seen for a while, but it was fine, I had a very warm reception and it took my mind off the obvious for at least a few hours. I'm feeling more positive than I have done for a while. I really appreciate this site and the lovely, caring people on it xxx
Your welcome. Who cares how you walk or what you're using to help you. If these people you saw are truly your friends, they will be happy just to see you out and about. It's good you did that, it does take your mind off of what is going on.
I know, I'm so happy I found this site. Such a great group of people. I always thought I was so alone with my back problems. Not that I'm happy other's are suffering, but to know that there are so many others out there with the same type of issues is really amazing. For the first time, I realize I'm not alone and there are people that understand exactly what I've gone through and all the feeling that go along with it.
First, sorry about your Grandma and I'm glad she's improving!
I had a 2 level acdf earlier this year with both levels having a massive disk prolapse and the surgeon had to dissect the disk fragments off the dura matar which covers the spinal cord. I was scared before surgery as I think everyone is but believe me, when you wake up pain free you will be glad you had it.
After you have the surgery DON'T sit around and let depression get the best of you-get out and walk as soon as possible but also make sure you follow the surgeon's post op rules. No heavy lifting or driving-it's against the law to drive with a cervical collar on anyway. Make sure you put everything that you need at eye level and I would suggest buying an item reacher/grabber because you won't be able to reach up or down after the surgery for a few weeks. Take the pain medication as directed so you stay ahead of the pain. No laundry, vacuuming or bending or twisting of any kind. You will have muscle spasms in the back of your neck/upper shoulder so be forewarned. Sleeping is fun with a collar on if you have to wear one. Like I said before a recliner is an excellent place to sleep in.
You'll be fine! You're going to feel so much better when you wake up after the surgery! If you have to stay the night hope and pray you aren't stuck next to a nurses station-they have no consideration for sick people, LOL! Funny, but that is my only gripe about having the surgery-the hospital stay!
Last edited by Administrator; 09-25-2012 at 02:59 AM.
Ah, that sounds really fun! As long as you enjoyed yourself who cares what other people think! Your friends obviously care a great deal about you-surround yourself with them while you heal from surgery!
Last edited by Administrator; 09-25-2012 at 03:00 AM.
Know exactly how you feel dear heart... Just wishing you the best, lets hope for the best... Time will be here before your realizing
Before each of my surgeries I kept my mind busy by cooking; I cook and put everything in a freezer for my family and for the times when I come home and will not be able to cook. Helps a lot my family and also helps to keep me busy.
Not easy of course....
Oh yep, I'm on the cooking!I've bought foil trays and plastic tubs to store food in, so far I've only managed to cook one extra meal but if I try to cook huge portions a few times a week and freeze the excess I'll be somewhere near by D-day. My kids do certainly keep me busy, but I find myself so short tempered right now, out of frustration and panic really. I'm a single mum and with 4 children to look after and minimal help, I'm wondering how we'll cope. I'm also quite concerned about the depression post operatively I've heard about, I have suffered from depression (related to my childhood mainly) forever and I really can't manage a major episode while recovering from this, especially as I'm geographically isolated already. I don't like taking meds for it as I'm a writer and can't work on them. Ah well, I know a positive attitude is 9/10ths of the battle...wonder if they can do a personality transplant at the same time I'll be fine, just find myself having a little pity party in my head every few days. I will log off now and distract myself lol! Thanks for the support, all of you. I really appreciate it xxx
Last edited by Administrator; 09-25-2012 at 03:00 AM.
The following 2 users give hugs of support to: rannch kenzibenzi (05-06-2012), NJ Ldy (05-06-2012)
Wait, wait - you single mom with 4 kids and no help? Honestly, how are you planning to handle it after surgery? Do you have any family to help you at least a week or 2 after surgery? You girl better make plans to get some help, otherwise no anti-depressants which help you with all this frustration of not being able to do what you have to do.
My husband and kids were there for me and still it was hard; how will you manage it?
About depression after surgery... I had 12 major surgeries in my life and had not even once a depression. Some people may call simple sadness, frustration a depression, but to me this is a normal bump on a road called LIFE. A real depression, like clinic depression, doesn't just come and go, it's a mental disease and needs serious medical attention. Having real depression, means you cant choose either you want to go on meds or not; you cant live normal life without them.
My PM once told me that many people when they say I am in pain, they don't really know what a real pain is. Because they may complain about pain, but the minute Dr wants to Rx them pain meds, they say that they dont want to go on them. When you know what REAL pain is, it's not that you have a choice; if you have a choice take-not take, it means you may experience some pain and feel uncomfortable, but if you can live with NO pain meds - people are OK in my book.
Why do I say this? I am thinking if you can live your life without anti-depressants, this may be anxiety, frustration which may come from anxiety as well, but you may not suffer from a real depression. I wish I am right for you!!!! And who wouldn't be frustrated to have 4 kids and now help when you need surgery. I dont have depression, but I would definitely be in your shoes in your situation.
I am so sorry, I wish someone would be there for you and your kids, really...
If I would be you, I would try homeopathic approach for your frustration. How about Passion flower extract 3 times a day? How about Chamomile tea every day - comes you down and makes you sleep better. They have so much on a market at good Health Food Stores. Even natural anti-depressants are very helpful and can really calm you down. You under a lot of stress dear heart.
Moldova, thanks so much, I have had real major depression in the past, the real deal and was hospitalized with it, sometimes it feels as if the remainder of my life has been spent desperately trying to avoid another episode, I have had times (after the birth of my kids and various other traumatic life events) where I've had no alternative to meds. You are absolutely right. I've also had lots of therapy to try to keep off medication. Right now, my aim is to avoid, simply because I don't function well on them, and you're right, it's a luxury to be able to make that choice. I also try to do meditation and my writing is in itself therapy and keeps me sane (ish)
I have minimal help. I live away from my sisters and though I had a rough care package set out (two of my sisters coming in for the first week and another sister looking after the dog and promises of help ferrying the kids to school and a bit of housework from a friend) my sister (who is Bi polar) has just had a breakdown and we're actually looking at her urgent care rather than mine right now. It's not ideal, but this is how things are, things have changed and I'm not in a position to postpone the surgery. I'm getting together with my sisters this friday to sort out all the plans. If I do get depressed afterwards then I will go on medication, though I'd rather manage without. Sincere thanks, you are a wise and warm person and I appreciate your insight. xxx