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    Old 11-01-2004, 10:53 AM   #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date: Mar 2004
    Posts: 21
    NervousMommy HB User
    Arrow ACDF Recovery Advice Anyone?

    ACDF Recovery Advice

    Hello Everyone,

    I am schedule at the end of the month for a long anticipated ACDF surgery!~
    Two level - WITHOUT PLATING surgery end Nov/2004
    (We tried everything-trigger point injection, traction, P.T for over a year!)

    Anyways, I was recommended to get a hospital bed for my home.
    Would this bed really make a difference? If so, why? What am I up against?
    As you can see, I am a very nervous mommy!

    Any suggestions on what else I may need at home? Any advance preparation suggestions?

    Any bathing suggestions.
    Any "do this, much easier" suggestions?
    All suggestions welcomed!

    Please add anything that you believe would help me endure my recovery!

    Thank you soooooo very much ahead of time!

    Looking forward to reading all your posts.

    Nervous Mommy

    Last edited by NervousMommy; 11-01-2004 at 11:07 AM. Reason: wrong

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    Old 11-01-2004, 12:28 PM   #2
    Join Date: Sep 2004
    Location: wisconsin
    Posts: 332
    solardust HB User
    Re: Acdf Recovery Advice Anyone?

    Hi, I can understand your nervousness,but the surgery itself goes rather well,but recovery is a slow process.I am not sure if you are going to have to wear a hard collar,if so, be sure to have some straws at home,the kind that bend work great,anything you do with your hair dying,perming before far as food goes, your gonna want some soft foods at first,pudding,jello, (ensure) I drank those ,cuz you get the vitamins you need,stock up on frozen foods,stuff ya can just pop in the oven or microwave,make it as easy as you can for the first 6 weeks or so,you might feel great ,but dont push yourself, take care and rest.I could not shower the 1st 9 days because of the staples closing the surgery site,so I had that dry shampoo,baby power works well to for your hair,the rest was sponge baths ,ya never know how much ya miss a shower untill its taken away,I tell ya that was the hard part.I wish I could of had a hospital bed, it would make it so much easier for sleep and resting, I stay on the recliner,and will be back in my own bed once this hard collar is off! I kept all my meds and water ect...close by on the end table, stock up on the bathroom stuff,so you dont run out,the shopping end was hard for me too, since I did all of it, but after this surgery you dont even want to run around and its hard to get someone to take over ,and then before ya know it there ya sit without tolit paper,literally I used and still use the heating pad alot,gee's I am sure I am missing something here,but someone will add some more help,this is a great board so be sure to ask about anything,we will all be there for you,good luck and God speed in healing,Diana

    Old 11-01-2004, 12:56 PM   #3
    Join Date: May 2004
    Location: USA
    Posts: 67
    boxer_dog_luv HB User
    Re: Acdf Recovery Advice Anyone?

    Hello! I had a two-level ACDF without plating using donor bone plugs on 6/30/04 and I have done fantastic. Re: hospital bed- I didn't need one. I am 42 yr. old female of normal weight, no other problems with mobility. My NS said not to sleep in recliner--his only rec. was firm bed or straight back chair. Best advice was from this board for U-shaped cervical pillow and regular contour memory foam pillow. Between these two I was able to position around the hard Aspen collar and get comfortable. I used firm pillows and a huge one to keep my back straight on my couch where I spent my days in front of the TV. See my previous posts. I came straight from recovery room feeling terrific and I think I have done better than two friends who did have the plate and still complain of swallowing problems/feeling the plate. The first couple of weeks is the scariest--feeling like your neck is in several pieces until I had the first x-ray at 4 wks that showed good fusion. The collar came off that very day suddenly. I was not stiff although I had been afraid to take the collar off except weekly at weeks 2 and 3 (with doctor's advice) to have my husband wash my hair while I sat in the tub holding my neck braced between my two hands resting on my collarbone. (Hey, whatever makes you happy and doing this gave me a feeling of serenity that nothing was going to happen to my neck out of the collar.) My NS recommended tub baths--my husband helped me carefully sit, etc. You want to avoid the risk of fall at all costs. I did not go out in a car until 4 weeks except to my MD appt. and I am still limiting it to 10 miles-10 mins per auto trip. My NS said the more time spent in the car the more chance of accident. I think I am a little wary of car trips even now (4 mos out). Best thing for friends to do is bring food--you need to concentrate on your recovery, mobility will be limited by the hard collar. Relax and be pampered. Good luck and God bless! I was absolutely petrified of the unknown--my fears were far worse before surgery than anything real that happened after. I was recommended to walk as it aids bone fusion. I did get a cane; it put others on notice, good weapon against neighbors/animals (just kidding) and a feeling of balance. It was kinda awkward not being able to see down at your feet in a weird sorta way. I feel I could trip over my own feet since the cane was just a security measure for my own confidence. (I had a lot of visitors, neighbors that hug and I would advise against that. Just two weeks ago, an old friend hit just the right spot during a hug and it cause a moment of pain. Stuff is still healing. I do not like to be bumped or jostled although I have suffered no ill effects to present.) Mary Jo

    Old 11-02-2004, 01:15 PM   #4
    Join Date: May 2004
    Posts: 555
    dennisgb HB User
    Re: Acdf Recovery Advice Anyone?

    Nervous Mommy,

    My first suggestion is stop being so nervous This only makes it harder.

    Okay, as far as a hospital bed, I can see where this might be helpful. I didn't have one, but thinking about it, I wouldn't have minded it.

    Get those pillows. I have two of the soft foam pillows, and I am still using them (4 months since surgery). I like them a lot. I have one of the u-shaped neck pillows, which I used in chair on couch and especially in car. I road in the car for 120 miles 10 days after surgery. You will know when you can take it. I asked my doc first though!

    Bathing, I used the cheapy collar they put on me at the hospital to support my neck during showers. I was able to take a shower within 48 hours of surgery.

    Get some Cloreseptic throat spray and take it with you to hospital. I used the heck out of this the first few days to a week. Your throat will be sore.

    Find all of the soft foods you can at grocery store. Don't be afraid of broth and soups without stuff in them. I was able to eat Cambells chicken rice soup at about 3-4 days out. It's pretty soft. I remember being really hungry!!! Popsicles are also good and makes your throat feel better too.

    Drink lots of fluids! Use water to wash down your food, especially if stuff feels like it's sticking in your throat.

    Try not to do much for the first few weeks (except come on here and tell us how your doing ) Listen to your docs. Listen to your body. Take your meds. Get well!

    Good Luck!

    Last edited by dennisgb; 11-02-2004 at 01:20 PM.

    Old 11-03-2004, 04:17 PM   #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date: Jan 2004
    Location: New Britain, CT, USA
    Posts: 247
    CTmom HB User
    Re: Acdf Recovery Advice Anyone?

    Hi! I had ACDF with plating of one level back in February. I was also a very nervous mommy!!!! I think I read every post in the archives on this board. My surgery went well and I felt great right after surgery - no pain, not even a sore throat. I slept in my own bed with no problem from day 1 but I didn't have to wear a collar, so I don't know if that makes a difference comfort-wise.

    I was not prepared for how weak my arms were after surgery. I was pretty much stuck in bed for a full month before my surgery and was really deconditioned. Make sure you buy SMALL containers of milk, detergent, etc... for the first few months. (With three small children, that was a change for us).

    I was not prepared for a recurrence of my pain about two weeks after surgery. I later found out my surgeon had injected cortisone during the surgery and my pain was probably when it was wearing off. It was a real shock and it took many months to resolve completely. This pain came right about the time many people, including myself, suffer a bout of postsurgical depression. I wish my doctor had warned me about this.

    My biggest piece of advice would be to get as much help with your kids as possible for the first few weeks. You really need to rest and think about your own needs for a little while. The recovery process varies so much with this surgery - my mom had it and bounced right back. For me it was six months before I really started to feel anything close to normal, but it was worth it because I got my life back.

    I hope everything goes well for you! Keep us posted.


    Old 11-04-2004, 08:51 AM   #6
    Join Date: Jun 2004
    Location: Sunny Tampa Bay
    Posts: 76
    Albie HB User
    Re: Acdf Recovery Advice Anyone?

    In this forum under "back problems" the first thread there is "Post surgery tips". There are numerous tips for before and after surgery. I am facing ACDF surgery soon and the tips there are a great help. If you haven't visited this thread you certainly should.

    Best of luck with your surgery and God Bless,

    Old 11-04-2004, 12:36 PM   #7
    Junior Member
    Join Date: Mar 2004
    Posts: 21
    NervousMommy HB User
    Re: Acdf Recovery Advice Anyone?

    Hello Everyone,

    First of all, thank each and everyone of you for your posts. They have been very comforting as well as very informative. I took each and every one to heart!

    Solardust, Boxer dog luv, Dennisgb, CTmom,and Albie your posts are very much APPRECIATED! Each post has information in it that not even MY SURGEON'S Nurse adviced me of. So I do THANK YOU!

    I will make my shopping list today! I certainly will take all of your advice and get the items needed: pillows, straws, throat spray, tolietries, frozen foods, etc., and check into the hospital bed anyways!

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    I truly appreciate that you all took the TIME to write to a STRANGER!
    You just don't know how much YOU ALL MEAN TO ME...

    Thank you and God Bless,

    I will keep you posted! PROMISE!
    Best of healing to EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU!

    Aloha and Love to all!
    Nervous Mommy - Marilyn

    Question: How do you wear the CERVICAL PILLOW if you have a HARD COLLAR ON? Do I put the pillow over the COLLAR?

    (Yes, I will be having a hard collar on) No Plating!

    Old 11-04-2004, 12:57 PM   #8
    Join Date: May 2004
    Posts: 555
    dennisgb HB User
    Re: Acdf Recovery Advice Anyone?

    Originally Posted by NervousMommy
    Question: How do you wear the CERVICAL PILLOW if you have a HARD COLLAR ON? Do I put the pillow over the COLLAR?
    Yes. The collar is sort of shaped like your neck and the pillow will fit there and support your head and your neck. This is not a perfect situation mind you, but once you are in your collar, you will understand

    Nervous Mommy, do you live in my favorite place in the world? Hawaii?

    Just wondering, since you said aloha to us.


    Last edited by dennisgb; 11-04-2004 at 01:00 PM.

    Old 11-04-2004, 01:13 PM   #9
    Junior Member
    Join Date: Mar 2004
    Posts: 21
    NervousMommy HB User
    Arrow Re: Acdf Recovery Advice Anyone?


    Thank you for the clarification on the cervical neck pillow.

    I will be using it over my HARD COLLAR, hmmm...
    I would think that I would not want ANYTHING TO TOUCH my HARD COLLAR.
    However, I will certainly invest in one now, it sounds like I will need it for comfort as you mentioned.
    GREAT ADVICE...Thank you!

    Yes, I do live in Hawaii...Far, far away from the mainland.
    That is why I am so very thankful for these MESSAGE BOARDS!

    I do thank you for your quick response.

    I think it is time for me to get that shopping list started.

    Once again, thanks a million!

    Hope your healing is coming along just fine!

    God Bless,
    Nervous Mommy

    Old 11-04-2004, 02:24 PM   #10
    Join Date: May 2004
    Posts: 555
    dennisgb HB User
    Re: Acdf Recovery Advice Anyone?

    Nervous Mommy,

    I will be in Hawaii in February.

    On Mauii and the Big Island. If you have read in my other posts, my dream has been to fish for Blue Marlin once my neck has healed. I haven't been able to for a few years.

    I have been to the Islands about 15 times.


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