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  • 10 Months Since Last ACDF!

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    Old 01-21-2006, 07:38 PM   #1
    BobM
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    10 Months Since Last ACDF!

    I'm close to setting a new personlal record for most months between surgeries. I've had my right shoulder rotater cuff (2002), left rotater cuff (2003), ACDF for C5/6/7 (2004), and ACDF for C4/5 (2005). One of my Drs believes the rotater cuff problems might have been related to the shoulder muscles getting weaker as the nerves were increasingly pinched by my neck problems, and the other Dr thinks the problems are unrelated.

    I do pretty good most days, but still take some pain medication each day (pain is much less, but not gone), haven't had a whole night's sleep since 2002, and have some numbness & twitching in my shoulders and arms (but very much less than it was).

    It sounds like I'm complaining, but I'm very grateful for the improvements. I get much comfort from what others have shared on this board.

    Wish me luck - if I can get through this Feb with no surgery, maybe my luck has changed!

     
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    Old 02-09-2006, 09:26 PM   #2
    JANE1950
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    Re: 10 Months Since Last ACDF!

    Bob

    Good luck. Are you able to do any exercise now? Were you between the first and second ACDF surgeries?

    I hope things continue to improve.

    Jane

     
    Old 02-12-2006, 06:22 PM   #3
    BobM
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    Re: 10 Months Since Last ACDF!

    Jane

    Thanks for the good wish.

    As for resuming exercise - I started walking a couple of days after returning home from the 1st ACDF, and was gradually adding some jogging and weight lifting (nothing terribly strenuous, just for muscle tone & general conditioning) when the pain returned, and I ended up with the 2nd ACDF about 1 year after the 1st. After the 2nd ACDF, I have been extremely cautious about resuming the exercise. I'm not sure the exercise contributed to needing the 2nd surgery or not, but in my mind it has been a big deal and I've been slow to start again.

    I've been trying to hook up with a rehab specialist to get some training on what is or is not safe exercise for me, but it's hard to get in to see them. So I've been limiting my exercise to walking since the 2nd ACDF (about 11 months now!) I'm trying to be optimistic about this and not let it be an unnecessary limitation, but needing that 2nd surgery so soon after the 1st really shook me up.

    Bob

     
    Old 02-12-2006, 06:40 PM   #4
    JackieH
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    Re: 10 Months Since Last ACDF!

    Dear Bob,

    You've been so kind to me when you answer my posts. I want to give you my secret to a full night's sleep. (Perhaps you've tried this or already have medication.)

    ZOPLICONE (in Canada...I think it's Lunesta in the States.)

    I'm less than 2 weeks out of my dbl. acdf so I don't sleep that well due to the extreem pain I'm still in. However...there's NO way I could sleep at all without my Zoplicone. I also throw in a Melatonin pill for a bit of extra help.

    B4 the surgery I took it for a few months. Mostly 1/2 a pill & sometimes 1 pill. I never showed signs of addiction so the doc feels fine with my continued use. You wake up more refreshed without feeling dragged out like the narcotic drugs make you feel.

    Anyway, that's my tip. 'Hope it's useful.

    Jackie

     
    Old 02-12-2006, 07:39 PM   #5
    BobM
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    Re: 10 Months Since Last ACDF!

    Hi Jackie:
    I've been happy for you that you seem to be doing well, considering it's been just a short time since your operation.

    Since you mention the Lunesta, do you mind if I ask how well it works? I haven't had a full night's sleep for almost a year now, and take Ambien almost every night. Ambien is not recommended for extended use, but my Dr. says it's OK in cases like mine/ours. I cut the pills into 1/2 or even 1/4 to try to minimize the risk of being dependent on it, and skip a few nights every now and then. But I've got some residual pain and loss of motion that wake me up. Does the Lunesta give you a full night's sleep? Are there after effects, like feeling drugged the next morning? I asked the Dr about it when it first came out, but it's not on the list of approved medications for our insurance yet. It claims to be better for extended use, so I'm watching for it to 'make the list'.

    Is your neck healing well, and did you end up with stitches? It sounds from your posts like your hip is causing more trouble at this point. I had donor bone and didn't have to deal with having two incisions at the same time.

    We've had the good fortune to travel a couple of times in the western part of Canada, and it's on our list of favorite places - it's a beautiful country and full of friendly campers!.

    Hope all continues to go well
    Bob

     
    Old 02-12-2006, 08:08 PM   #6
    JANE1950
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    Re: 10 Months Since Last ACDF!

    Bob

    Boy, that is just awful to think that possibly exercise brought on your second ACDF. Was it the same arm and pain as the first one?

    I'm going to print your post out and everytime I think about zipping out to the golf course before it is time, I am going to re-read it. My doctor said that it really takes a year for the bone to fuse. He cautioned me against jogging, tennis and golf.

    As for sleep, have you tried ativan or valium? They aren't good long term because they are depressants but they do give a good night's sleep. Plus they are a muscle relaxant. I do not have any real pain but I do find that sometimes i will wake up in the middle of the night and find my right arm has gone to sleep....it is unsettling, especially since the pain was in my left arm.

    Jane

     
    Old 02-12-2006, 08:08 PM   #7
    JANE1950
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    Re: 10 Months Since Last ACDF!

    Bob

    Boy, that is just awful to think that possibly exercise brought on your second ACDF. Was it the same arm pain as the first one?

    I'm going to print your post out and everytime I think about zipping out to the golf course before it is time, I am going to re-read it. My doctor said that it really takes a year for the bone to fuse. He cautioned me against jogging, tennis and golf.

    As for sleep, have you tried ativan or valium? They aren't good long term because they are depressants but they do give a good night's sleep. Plus they are a muscle relaxant. I do not have any real pain but I do find that sometimes i will wake up in the middle of the night and find my right arm has gone to sleep....it is unsettling, especially since the pain was in my left arm.

    Jane

     
    Old 02-12-2006, 08:42 PM   #8
    BobM
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    Re: 10 Months Since Last ACDF!

    Jane:
    Both times my problems have been on both sides, but mostly on the left. After the 1st surgery, I didn't 'pick up the pace' on exercising until the xray(at 3 months) showed the donor bone being incorporated very nicely. I had the Dr's approval to exercise more, and my only 'restrictions' were to avoid overhead work (like painting a ceiling or pruning a tree), no amusement park rides (like roller coasters or any of the 'good' rides at Disneyland), and to not try to turn my neck too far (like when driving and looking over the shoulder on a lane change).

    I think you've got the right idea on giving yourself plenty of time before doing anything too extreme. I don't golf, but it seems like a stressful activity for this kind of problem? I self-imposed a lot of restrictions after my 2nd surgery, to avoid even the possibility that I am worsening my problem.

    I appreciate the advice on the sleepiing - it's probably the most troublesome after affect that I've experienced. I'm trying to learn to get up and do something (instead of tossing & turning) when I can't sleep, and to let myself sleep when I can - but it doesn't always work out with the alarm clock & work schedule!

    Bob

     
    Old 02-15-2006, 02:03 AM   #9
    JackieH
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    Re: 10 Months Since Last ACDF!

    Hi Bob,

    'Glad you've had opportunity to visit our beautiful province of BC. We live in the Okanagan region with all the lakes, vinyards & fruit orchards...our own little paradise.

    Zopiclone (Lunesta in the US,) is great because you don't feel drug-lag in the morning. It's been years & years since I've actually felt "good" in the mornings due to all the pain. But I DO know what it's like to add drug induced groggyness to the mix & Zopiclone seems to completely leave your system before you even wake up. And, as I mentioned, there are no signs of addiction with me after 3 months or so of taking it. (Also, no nightmares like some other drugs like narcotics can induce.)

    Hope you're able to give it a try soon, Bob. Sleep is so incredibly important & I can't tell you how much I appreciate this new drug.

    Stitches are still in the over 4" diagonal slash accross my neck but are supposed to disolve in time. And I just had 13 staples removed from my hip incision on Thursday. I was glad to see those go!
    I'm SLOWLY getting better but not much. I'm sort of paranoid about wrecking the fusion. I'm not aware sometimes of moving my neck this way or that. I find myself looking down to relieve some of the intense pain in my upper back/lower neck area & then wonder if I'm doing damage to the surgeons work.
    My GP told me not to look up. But I forget when finishing a glass of water not to tilt my head back.
    I'll be so relieved when I have my 6-week X-ray & the doc says it looks good.

    Anyway, I sure hope you're able to sleep well soon.

    Blessings,
    Jackie

     
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