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    Old 03-01-2007, 10:28 PM   #1
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    5 weeks post op ACDF c5-c6-c7

    Hi all,

    Five weeks post operative from my neck surgery to remove two herniated disks & replace them with cadaver bone in hopes they will fuse with my own bone and I’m getting better by the day. Again, no thanks to the surgeon who learned last week that I rejected his plan to treat my pain. Upon my entrance to his office, he mispronounced my name. I corrected him in a stern voice, he corrected himself, and I thanked him. My husband had to go back to the hospital for an x-ray they left out of my packet so I got to see the surgeon alone. Besides my not drinking the milk & eating the ice cream like he ordered me to, my healing is coming along perfectly well. I told him I feel a constant lump in my throat, he said, “Of course you do, you have metal in there.” I wonder if I’ll feel this forever or if it will eventually go away? He didn’t give me any hope that it will go away.

    He asked me how many percacet I was taking per day now, in a tone that really sounded like, “are you a junkie yet?” and I answered, “None.” He had a puzzled look on his face and I continued, “After seeing you last time, I went to a pain management specialist.” He asked me what I was taking; I gave him the names of the pain pills but not the others, (he wouldn’t understand, anyway). Again, in his snide voice, “I suppose your GP sent you to him?” A little history; my GP told me before surgery that he wouldn’t treat my post-op pain, to which I informed my surgeon, so he, the surgeon thought it funny to make my GP take care of my pain anyway. <Shaking head> I answered, “No, my thyroid doctor referred me to him, to which I just learned is way out of whack.” He kept trying to discount my thyroid issue as was not his problem.

    Now, perhaps my thyroid issue is NOT legally his problem. But maybe he should learn a little bit more about thyroid disease, considering the thyroid is right next to the disks in which he removes in necks. I’m not saying he had anything to do with my thyroid going out of whack when he went digging around to dish out the disks; apparently, my thyroid’s TSH was off the charts BEFORE my surgery. My thyroid has been on a roller coaster ride since I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism (Grave’s disease) in July 05 and since radiated it in September 05 to kill it to make me hypothyroid. I’ve achieved a normal TSH only a few times since then, amounting to a handful of months that I feel like my old self. I didn’t find out my levels were off the normal charts until 10 days ago after I had my endo’s nurse find my blood work from January & my latest in February, which showed my TSH level extremely far off the normal mark. Levels so far off mark make me cringe in my skin as I struggle to have nice things to say... And I thought I was well because I was complaining at the news ;-). My family & I believed I just had a bad PMS time, yet again and Xanax became my friend, (always a sign my thyroid is off kilter). The animals were afraid of me & my family stayed as far away & kept the house so clean, afraid of the crazy woman who resides in my body.

    I tried to explain in a nice way to the surgeon that my thyroid is his problem too because he, as well as everybody who comes in contact with me, including my family & animals are all in danger because I go completely crazy when my thyroid needs adjusting. He looked at me with a stunned, scared look and headed out the door & down the hall towards his office. He said, “Well you can spend some time with your girls in the waiting room while we wait for your husband to return with the x-ray but where are the girls, Robin, (his receptionist)?” I heard her reply, “They went with their dad.” “Oh” he responded & quickly closed his office door. I waited in the waiting room for their return. When my husband returned with the x-ray, the surgeon encouraged him to take a look at the films between himself & me. It was strange to see those six screws and plates in my neck x-rays & CT scans.

    The surgeon shook my hand before we left but I’m not sure if he wished me well. I do have a feeling he will pronounce my name correctly and ask how my thyroid is when I see him again in a few weeks. Luckily for him, my thyroid will be in great order by then since it usually takes three weeks for the synthetic thyroid hormone to take effect and turn me back into my normal fun crazy self, not the scary crazy self he got to see.

    I’m looking forward to sitting through my youngest daughter’s middle school band concert next week. She plays the flute and beautifully, I might add. This will be my first outing that doesn’t involve a doctor. I also have a dental cleaning appointment next week; I certainly hope I can sit through that. Even though living in this collar is getting old, I’m told I can’t be rid of it until three months post op, at which time I will be sent to physical therapy but not until. Oftentimes, I’m taking less pain medication so I’m convinced I’m on the mend, even if too slow for my taste.

    Thanks for listening to my thyroid induced rant about my prognosis.


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    Old 03-02-2007, 08:32 AM   #2
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    Re: 5 weeks post op ACDF c5-c6-c7

    When I had thyroid problems before surgery, it sometimes bothered my throat, so I can imagine what fun it must be post-surgery for you. Yikes.

    Surgeons are............surgeons. Their point of view is, "I cut you open, I fix the problem, now go away." On my first visit back to my surgeon, he asked how I was doing and I started talking about pain, spasms, weird nerve stuff, etc. I think I got about 30 seconds in before he held up his hand to stop me and asked, "Do you feel better than you did before surgery?" I said, "Well, yes...." and he stopped me again, saying, "Then I've done my job."

    I think I pretty well understood his take on the matter after that.

    Seeing the PM doc was probably a good idea.

    And the 'lump' feeling should go away in time. I believe it's relatively rare for it to be a permanent, constant thing. I still feel it once in a while, but those episodes are few and far between, and it's usually a situation where I've stressed my neck, and it never lasts for long.

    Hope you're feeling better soon.

    Old 03-02-2007, 08:54 AM   #3
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    Re: 5 weeks post op ACDF c5-c6-c7

    I wonder which is better, your story with the surgeon or mine. I went to my first post op at 12 days and saw the Phys. Asst. My 2nd post-op was at 6 weeks and the surgeon literally came in, looked at my XRays from across the room and said it looked great and then went to leave. I had to stop him and ask him about the constant lump in MY throat, too. He said it was swelling and would go away. He said some quick thing about my scar getting lighter in 4 months and then left. I would say he was there 1 min. Then the Phys. Asst. came back in (she was in my surgery)...and we discussed alot about my spasms and getting P.T. and who she recommended I go to. I hope this surgeon did a good job on my ACDF, that's all I can say.

    Old 03-02-2007, 04:09 PM   #4
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    Re: 5 weeks post op ACDF c5-c6-c7

    Wow you guys had sucky surgeons. My surgeon Reuter, in Lake Worth, FL.... is THE most kind, considerate human. You would never think he was a surgeon. He actually held my hand sat in a chair across from me and looked me directly in the eye and asked me to tell him about my pain. And he was just as nice afterward! I got to see him my first appt. back and then I saw his Assistants = and they are equally as nice! Sorry about your experiences.

    Old 03-04-2007, 10:19 AM   #5
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    Re: 5 weeks post op ACDF c5-c6-c7

    My Surgeon lacked the art of being humble and to listen to my other issues that were going on prior/post surgery. That being said, he did the absolute best ACDF I could possibly imagine someone doing.

    I gladly put up with his BS, in exchange for the gift he gave me. A neck that works. These guys think they are gods, as long as they do what they are trained to do I'll put up with that.

    I don't think I could put up with the attitude without the surgeon being the absolute best, lucky for me.....mine was.

    I hope everything works out for you guys.

    Old 03-05-2007, 08:21 AM   #6
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    Re: 5 weeks post op ACDF c5-c6-c7

    There's an old joke among us nurses about "What's the difference between God and a surgeon?....God doesn't think He's a surgeon!" Luckily, I have one of the fabulous ones who is warm and who listens to me, but having worked in a hospital, I am VERY familiar with the other kind! Kudos to you for doing what you need to do to get your needs met. Fragmentation of care is a big hot button for me, as my dad was one of the old country doctors who made house calls and delivered babies in homes. He took care of the WHOLE patient, and I have problems with doctors who say "That part of you is not my problem." They just don't seem to get that everything about us affects every other thing about us!
    Hang in there, and just get better!!

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