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    Old 12-30-2005, 09:52 PM   #1
    JANE1950
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    My ACDF Surgery December 15th (c-7) and questions

    Hi all

    I just found this web site a couple of days ago. I sure wish I had found this before as I suffered through a severely herniated disc. One of the threads that has helped me was from Paul who gave post surgery updates over a year. I will try to return the favor and hopefully ask questions for all those people further in the healing process than I am.

    My disc problem
    My injury happened in July. As I was trying to make a huge shoulder turn on a golf swing, I felt a twinge in my shoulder blade. Suddenly I felt pain in my elbow and my pointer finger went numb. I did the conservative treatment first, then got an MRI and was scheduled for surgery August 30th. About 12 hours before surgery, the pain suddenly went away and the numbness left as well. I was only left with weakness in tricep which PT helped. Even though the MRI showed a severely herniated disc with possible fragments, I just couldn't do surgery given I was out of pain. So for two months no pain. I forgot about it until November 15th I tried a yoga like shoulder stand and the pain returned with a vengeance ---this time under the armpit, around the scapula and down to the hands. After an epidural failed I knew I was at the end of the road as far as avoiding surgery.

    The Surgery
    I am scared to death of shots and doctors. The anticipation was awful but the pain was worse. There seem to be few drugs that really help nerve pain. I had a phenomenal NS. The minute I woke up from surgery I was out of pain. My throat was sore for 2 days. I was fitted for a Miami collar and sent home the next day. My doctor prescribed flexeril and vicodin. As of today no need for vicodin.

    Day 10
    I still have no pain at all, only twinges if I turn the wrong way. At request of doctor I have not gotten in a car for first two weeks. I am taking baths and got dressed for the first time. Walked two miles, very very slowly. I take flexeril at night to help me sleep but no vicodin

    Day 15
    I can shower by myself now and feel okay being a car passenger. I went shopping and felt very nervous ....like someone was going to run into me. Two issues I have.....the collar (I have a Phila******a collar and Miami collar) are killing my neck. It is raw. I wonder if anyone has any ideas. I am supposed to wear it 24/7 for six weeks. The pain from that rubbing on my chin is worse than anything post surgery. My husband let me sit for an hour tonight in a straight chair, very very still without the brace. It felt sooo good but I wonder if that will hurt the fusion that should be taking place. Second issue is that my left pointer finger is still numb. I wake up in the middle of the night and find the feeling is back in it but my right hand is numb (I never had problems with right side). This lasts a minute and never happens when I'm awake.

    Regards
    Jane

     
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    Old 01-02-2006, 09:42 AM   #2
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    Re: My ACDF Surgery December 15th (c-7) and questions

    Glad you are doing well. For the iritation from the collar I went to fabric store and bought this very soft, velvety, furry material. Not one that is too thick but soft, and cut a piece and lined the areas like the chin that were bothering me. I also found that about week three i adjusted to the whole thing as my neck swelling subsided the collar became more comfortable.

     
    Old 01-02-2006, 03:21 PM   #3
    JANE1950
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    Re: My ACDF Surgery December 15th (c-7) and questions

    What a great idea! Thanks so much. I guess I should say a small prayer that my surgery didn't happen in the summer. It is quite hot here in Houston in summer. I can't imagine wearing a brace in August. Happy New Year

    Jane

     
    Old 01-03-2006, 10:12 PM   #4
    JANE1950
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    Re: My ACDF Surgery December 15th (c-7) and questions

    Day 20 post op

    I started back to work today. I was pretty tired after five hours. (I work in an office and manage employees). I went home and went to bed. It felt like the right thing to do. I don't know when others are cleared for work. I am going to listen to my body and see. I do know I would feel really nervous flying (which is a good part of my job) before six weeks. I still have no pain whatsoever and am taking 1/2 soma and 1/2 ambien to sleep. My right pointer finger continues to be numb. This bothered me until I read all of the past posts. I also feel nervous going over bumps in a car. A couple of questions.

    For those who had to wear collar for 6 weeks, did you ever take it off for an hour here or there? I have been assuming I"m in a straight chair and am not going to move. I hope I'm not doing damage but I want to see if I can hold my head up by myself.

     
    Old 01-04-2006, 07:14 AM   #5
    myjas2001
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    Re: My ACDF Surgery December 15th (c-7) and questions

    I would ask your doctor about taking the collar off to be on the safe side. I was allowed to take mine off when sitting in my chair and given a soft collar to sleep in. I only wore mine 4 weeks. I also had plating which if you don't have might be a reason why you have to wear it.

    As far as the numbness, it can take up to a year for any nerves to come back. They told me some might not if they were damaged too long. You also probably have some swelling going on in your neck from the surgery which might be pressing on nerves causing some numbness.

    I still have a lot of muscle pain which I didn't have pre surgery and acheness in my pinkies which my chiro explained to me as I did above. Give it time. Your body just went through major surgery and is defending itself.

    Hope you feel better soon.
    Veronika


    Nov. 10 2005 ACDFP C6-7
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    Nov. 10 2005 ACDFP C6-7

    Last edited by myjas2001; 01-04-2006 at 07:15 AM.

     
    Old 01-04-2006, 07:51 AM   #6
    JANE1950
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    Re: My ACDF Surgery December 15th (c-7) and questions

    Hi Veronika

    Yes, I have plating but a very conservative doctor. I really can't complain as I have not had any pain at all other than the chapping of Miami brace which is easing since I got some material to line with. I will go get xray at day 30 and assuming bone is fusing, I will get to start weaning myself from brace.

    Sounds like you are healing well except for twinges? Are you exercising yet? PT?

    Jane

     
    Old 01-06-2006, 05:58 PM   #7
    JANE1950
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    Re: My ACDF Surgery December 15th (c-7) and questions

    Day 23

    Dear all

    I finished my first week at work. With working half days I did not have time to do my walking. I will try to do that this weekend. I feel pretty good. One question. I noticed tonight that I had twinges down my left arm (this was the side where the pain manifested before surgery). I would characterize these twinges at a 1.5 on a pain threshold. If it had happened right after surgery I would not think about it. But since I have been 100% painfree for over three weeks now, I'm worried that something is going wrong. Have any of you had them and is it part of healing process? I go for xray and f/u visit on Tuesday.

    Regards
    Jane

     
    Old 01-18-2006, 09:24 PM   #8
    JANE1950
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    Re: My ACDF Surgery December 15th (c-7) and questions

    Day 33

    Dear all

    My healing is continuing on schedule I think. I had my first xray last week and fusion is happening so I am being allowed to slowly wean myself from the brace. I am working 80 percent days but still not flying which is fine by me. I still get nervous as passenger in the car.

    I still have numbness in pointer finger but assume that will go away.

    One thing happened and I guess I should have thought about it. Last night while bending down to pick up something I pulled a muscle in my lower back. It is not disc....just a huge muscle spasm. So I"m on muscle relaxants. What I would say to other people reading is that I wish I had kept up gentle lower back exercises. I stopped after surgery which no doubt caused back muscles to atrophy. I'm really eager to start building strength up in my lower back.

    Best
    Jane

     
    Old 01-30-2006, 11:09 PM   #9
    JANE1950
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    Re: My ACDF Surgery December 15th (c-7) and questions

    45 days Post Op

    At this point the healing becomes more subtle. I walked the golf course yesterday with husband and had no fatigue at all. I shop now and have weaned myself off brace except for when I am passenger in car. I tried to do gentle tricep exercises tonight with light weights. I can no longer lift 5 pound weight so I stop. I don't think that it is permanent damage but more muscle atrophy. I see Doctor on February 10th and he will clear me to drive. Until that happens no physical therapy yet. I am back at work fulltime but have trouble both sleeping at night. I take a muscle relaxant and then it takes hours for it to kick in so I don't wake up until 10 or so. I need to figure out how to get back on a normal schedule.

    I feel almost normal. Neck is a little stiff when I try to turn it too far. Assume that will improve.

     
    Old 02-10-2006, 09:39 PM   #10
    JANE1950
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    Re: My ACDF Surgery December 15th (c-7) and questions

    8 weeks post op

    Saw the neurosurgeon today. Timing was good because yesterday I started having twinges down my arm. It scared me because it felt like nerve twinges rather than muscle twinges The neurosurgeon said the xrays looks great and the fusing is taking place. He said that the twinges are a combination of the nerves waking up and irritation caused by initiating new activities (I started driving on Monday). Whew. I am so relieved. I can start PT now. No golf until March 15th when I can chip. (I did chip a little on Sunday but won't do it again for another month).

     
    Old 02-26-2006, 06:30 PM   #11
    JANE1950
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    Re: My ACDF Surgery December 15th (c-7) and questions

    Ten weeks post surgery

    I continue to feel great. Have started PT which involved improving mobility of neck. I still find it hard to pull out of parking places and have a few tiny twinges but all in all I am so happy I got the surgery out of the way. Tennis is still a long way off but I feel comfortable chipping and putting on the golf course.

     
    Old 03-01-2006, 01:29 AM   #12
    rob_zzz
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    Re: My ACDF Surgery December 15th (c-7) and questions

    Jane thanks for posting the updates. Its helpful for those of us that haven't had surgery but may need it at some point.

    cheers
    Rob

     
    Old 03-01-2006, 05:43 AM   #13
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    Re: My ACDF Surgery December 15th (c-7) and questions

    Jane,
    I've enjoyed reading your posting's. We all want to recover yesterday, ya know. I was told I had to get used to a "new normal", which I now understand. I had acdf c-4/7 4-04. My DR. let me drive after 2 weeks with my aspen collar on. When I asked how I could do that he said just loosen it . I asked him to show me and he loosened it so much I could have fit another head in there! Please keep posting, you are a sucess story and alot of folks need to hear that. Just go slow with your recovery, dont try to do too much too fast. You can read alot of stories about recurring pain and alot are related to overdoing it.
    Take it slow and keep posting!! Mike

     
    Old 03-01-2006, 12:56 PM   #14
    JANE1950
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    Re: My ACDF Surgery December 15th (c-7) and questions

    Hi Rob and Mike

    I am so glad that my postings have had impact. When I learned about this wonderful board I was two days post surgery. I sure wish I had known about it before as the posts of others before me who have had the surgery and lived to tell about it have been invaluable.

    Rob, in a way I wish I had had my surgery 4 months earlier when it was first recommended. But I think we each need to go through our process before we are ready. With all of the new artificial discs in clinical trials, it may be good to hold out. I think one day that will change the way we deal with these disc problems and how we heal from them.

    You know, I know the meaning of "new Normal" now. I doubt I will ever drive a car again without worrying a tad bit if someone would rear end me (golf and tennis caused my herniated disc--not an accident). I also read all of the posts from people here who had one surgery only to have to have a second surgery down the line. I try to see a common thread but it doesn't appear these people over did it. I am hoping that good rehab and keeping your spine strong will make the odds of future surgery slight.

    Best regards
    Jane

     
    Old 03-02-2006, 06:23 AM   #15
    mb100
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    Re: My ACDF Surgery December 15th (c-7) and questions

    Hi Jane,
    I should stick to my own experience. I now have an additional herniation at c3/4. I think it was done 3 or 4 weeks into therapy. Although I complained an MRI wasnt done for over a year. They did do one exray that didnt show a problem about a month after I started having pain. Also, I had a non-union at c6/7 that will require more sugery. I had never heard of an acdf before, as I imagine most people havent. It took a long time to research.
    I do wish you the best. Sounds like you're doing great!
    Mike

     
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