It appears you have not yet Signed Up with our community. To Sign Up for free, please click here....



Spinal Cord Disorders Message Board

  • surgery(C5-C6) on Friday...what to expect?

  • Post New Thread   Closed Thread
    Thread Tools Search this Thread
    Old 06-19-2006, 07:26 AM   #1
    humantunigfork
    Junior Member
    (male)
     
    Join Date: Jun 2006
    Location: roanoke, VA
    Posts: 47
    humantunigfork HB User
    surgery(C5-C6) on Friday...what to expect?

    Friday is my day of reckoning...ACDF w/hardware...and I am starting to sketch out a bit...Just not sure what to expect...I have significant cord compression...my main symptoms are 3 fingers (middle, ring, pinky) on my left hand are numb (for 2mos.)...intermittent numbness in the tips of the same fingers on the right hand...muscle spasms/weakness in tricep...in the right arm...I also have numbness in the ball/toes of my left foot (is this something different?)...if i tilt my head forward a shock will vibrate down my spine to my lower back...

    God willing i wake up Friday morning what can I expect...will the numbness be gone (I have read from alot of folks that it may take up to a year to regain normalcy?)...I guess the throat soreness will be a given...Doc didn't mention a collar...though I wear one now when I drive...Will I ever play basketball again? Will I ever hit a golf ball again?...Doc says that one thing in my favor is that I have "elephant bones" which are easier to work on?...Will Doc be around to debrief me before they send me home? Will I be a bionic man?...thanks...the human tuning fork

     
    Sponsors Lightbulb
       
    Old 06-19-2006, 07:49 AM   #2
    SpineAZ
    Senior Veteran
    (female)
     
    SpineAZ's Avatar
     
    Join Date: Oct 2005
    Location: Wisconsin
    Posts: 5,082
    SpineAZ HB UserSpineAZ HB UserSpineAZ HB UserSpineAZ HB UserSpineAZ HB UserSpineAZ HB UserSpineAZ HB UserSpineAZ HB UserSpineAZ HB UserSpineAZ HB UserSpineAZ HB User
    Talking Re: surgery(C5-C6) on Friday...what to expect?

    I am 39 and had an ACDF C5-C7 on 5/18. When I awoke I had immediate relief of the pre-op nerve pain in my left arm and fingers . The numbness in the fingers also began to dissapate and is barely noticable now .

    I recommend you call the ssurgeon to see if you will have a collar post-op. The reason I suggest this is because I was fitted for mine on the Monday before surgery (my doctor prescribes the Aspen Collar), took it home to practice wearing it and felt it was too tall (felt like it was stretching my neck) . I went back the next day and was refitted from a tall to a regular and it was so much better. My doctor admits that he's conservative when it comes to the collar and thus requires it for at least 6 weeks. If all goes well I will be allowed to remove it next Monday, though I plan to keep it around just in case the first few days without a collar are rough. Since I knew I'd be in it 6 weeks I purchased an extra set of collar pads so I could wear one while washing the other and/or shower with one if I felt the need (like the first week I was out of the hospital). My doctor also prescribed an electric bone stimulator that I wear around the collar 4 hours per day for a few months.

    I had a sore throat for about 4 days and spoke in a very high pitched voice . Popsicles and sorbet helped a lot. Ironically diet pepsi was soothing. The nurse thought that was odd but since it worked she kept supplying me with it :-) In the first 24 hours after surgery I think the throat stuff bothered me more than the neck.

    I had surgery on a Thursday and did not sleep at all that night (I find I get this kind of reaction to medications like percocet and morophine instead of them making me groggy). When the doctor came to check on me Friday he and I agreed I should stay one more night in the hospital since the first night didn't go so well. I ended up in for 3 days and the hospital bed was more comfortable than my home bed since you can adjust the hospital bed any way to make yourself comfortable. Sleeping at home with the collar on has been very challenging and I rarely get a 'full night' sleep. I think my longest stretch has been 3 hours, then I usually readjust the pillows or sit in the recliner for a while. Some people sleep in a recliner but I can't. I think that's all psychological - I can nap in the recliner but I can't sleep an entire night in one.

    I've met a few others who had ACDF surgry in the past. Some golf, some play basketball, swim, canoe, etc. Everyone of them (and my doc) have said just to always be conscious of the neck and avoid contact sports and things like roller coasters that jostle the neck.
    __________________
    Rt thumb fusion '13. R&L thumb arthroplasty '12 ; RT TKR & Bilat CTS' 11. Fusions: L5-S1('87), L4-S1('93), C5-C7('06), L3-S1('10), C4-C5('13). C5-C7 foraminotomy '08

    Last edited by SpineAZ; 06-19-2006 at 07:52 AM.

     
    Old 06-19-2006, 11:21 AM   #3
    humantunigfork
    Junior Member
    (male)
     
    Join Date: Jun 2006
    Location: roanoke, VA
    Posts: 47
    humantunigfork HB User
    Re: surgery(C5-C6) on Friday...what to expect?

    thanks for the reply...glad to hear you are doing well after your surgery...I will keep the diet pepsi in mind...as that sore throat thing seems like a sure thing with this type of surgery...I just can't imagine waking up and being able to have feeling restored in my hand and elsewhere..since it has been over two months like this...Before I knew the severity of my situation I had kept playing basketball (with diminishing skill)...and even shot a 79 3 weeks ago on relatively tough golf course...the following tuesday I got the bad news...I just hope #1) I survive #2) i'm not paralyzed #3) I can begin to do the things I used to..well I can live without playing ball I guess b/c of the risk associated with a hard foul or fall...but I would like to be able to play golf and tennis...I guess that is a ways a way though...if at all...human tuning fork

     
    Old 06-19-2006, 11:41 AM   #4
    Kissa
    Senior Veteran
    (female)
     
    Kissa's Avatar
     
    Join Date: Mar 2004
    Location: O Hi O
    Posts: 2,015
    Kissa HB UserKissa HB UserKissa HB UserKissa HB UserKissa HB User
    Re: surgery(C5-C6) on Friday...what to expect?

    I had my surgery over 2 years ago and woke up feeling great. The numbness and the pain were completely gone. I had C4-C7 fused. I was only in the hospital for overnight which is pretty much the standard. I did not have to wear a brace which actually scared me at first since I sublex and dislocate easily, but in the end was greatful that I didn't have to wear one.

    The first few days are the hardest in general because of the incision site and of course the new hardware etc. Be sure that your doctor does send you home with something for pain. The key to keeping the pain under control is to take the medication as prescribed. If it says every 4-6 hours that's how you should take it. Putting off taking medication and only taking it when you hurt can cause your pain levels to become out of line and it will be very difficult to bring them under control again.

    I found that ice was my best friend for the first few days. It helped to minmize the swelling in the incision site which seemed to be the area of that caused the most pain overall. I spent the first few days in bed and avoided the computer or sitting up for long periods as it did seem to tire me out quickly.

    My throat was sore and scratchy but I didn't loose my voice. I opted for Fruit Breezers hard candy and various throat drops that helped to sooth my throat. I also drank plenty of water to be sure that I was hydrated properly.

    After about the 2nd week I was doing fine and could barely even tell that I had the surgery done. The biggest thing was that the pain was completley gone from the herniations and of course the numbness. Each person is different in how they react to the surgery but overall I wouldn't be worried. I know if I had to do it again I'd do it over in a minute without a second thought.

    I'm sure you'll do fine, most folks generally get through the surgery quite well. Those who seem to have the most pain or difficulty getting through it are those who use their own bone instead of cadaver. I have seen quite a few complaints from those who had theirs harvested as opposed to those who did not.

    Good luck
    Barb

     
    Old 06-19-2006, 01:39 PM   #5
    dennisgb
    Inactive
     
    Join Date: May 2004
    Posts: 555
    dennisgb HB User
    Re: surgery(C5-C6) on Friday...what to expect?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by humantunigfork
    thanks for the reply...glad to hear you are doing well after your surgery...I will keep the diet pepsi in mind...as that sore throat thing seems like a sure thing with this type of surgery...I just can't imagine waking up and being able to have feeling restored in my hand and elsewhere..since it has been over two months like this...Before I knew the severity of my situation I had kept playing basketball (with diminishing skill)...and even shot a 79 3 weeks ago on relatively tough golf course...the following tuesday I got the bad news...I just hope #1) I survive #2) i'm not paralyzed #3) I can begin to do the things I used to..well I can live without playing ball I guess b/c of the risk associated with a hard foul or fall...but I would like to be able to play golf and tennis...I guess that is a ways a way though...if at all...human tuning fork
    Hi TuningFork,

    This is a major surgery, so expect to feel overall pretty crappy for a while. The sore throat is tough, and swallowing will be difficult. If they are using BPM (bone growth hormone), it can increase the sore throat. The chances that you will survive and not be paralized are pretty high (99.9999%).

    Now that we got that out of the way, your feelings right now are pretty normal...any surgery is scary, even the simple ones. This one, hopefully will be worth it, in that you should get relief from the pain, and regain a normal life down the road. Immediate relief depends on a lot of factors. When I had my surgery, I was in so much pain that I felt really good after the surgery. I had a major improvement...so much so, that the surgery itself didn't bother me much pain wise. This was because I had live so long with the pain from the nerves in my neck that I had gotten used to it...and didn't realize how bad it was. The pain from the surgery was nothing compare to the pain in my neck...I hope that makes sense.

    I don't see why you can't golf after this surgery...it might be a while before the docs will release you to, but you will get there. Basketball might be another thing, due to the potential for heavy contact, with another player or the floor. That will probably be a risk you might have to accept if you want to play...most docs will tell you it's not a good idea. Mike Alscott the Tampa Bay Bucs fullback had ACDF surgery, and went back to playing football, so anything is possible.

    You won't be a bionic man either (although it's funny you thought that up). That little plate in your neck won't even set off the security devices at the airport.

    Good luck and we will pray for your success.

    Keep us posted.

    Dennis

     
    Old 06-19-2006, 02:16 PM   #6
    ThoreauFan
    Senior Member
    (male)
     
    Join Date: Jan 2006
    Posts: 266
    ThoreauFan HB User
    Re: surgery(C5-C6) on Friday...what to expect?

    You have a lot of things going through your mind right now.

    This Friday you will be exactly where you need to be. You will have all of the skills and tools of modern medicine at your disposal during and after your surgery. All those smart people will be surrounding you precisley because they have the ability to marshall their specialized knowledge and skills on a moment's notice.

    Know that you are not being helicoptered in after taking a fall on a basketball court and injuring your neck. Your risks prior to the surgery have most likely been much, much greater than any risks you will face after the surgery.

    Seriously, give that some thought.

    I had ridden a modern roller coaster - egads - shortly before my long-time-condition was discovered. I also experienced the unfortunate reality of serious mechanical failure while on a flight - very, very rough ride and landing.

    The plane landed on the longest commercial runway in North America (think Space Shuttle), at an unimaginable speed, "bounced" because the plane didn't want to stay on the ground, and used 5,000 feet of runway while a trail of emergency equipment followed the plane. Talk about an E-ticket ride.

    Despite the situations above, I did not break my neck or damage my cord, even with bone growths compressing my cord by about two-thirds. It was certainly a very real risk in my case, though. Very, very real.

    After you have recovered, generally, the risks posed are different.

    Naturally, we all want the fusion, plate, screws, etc. to stay where they should be. With time, healing, and your Dr.'s guidance, you may be surprised by just how much you will continue to enjoy life's activities.
    __________________
    "Use your health, even to the point of wearing it out. That is what it is for." George Bernard Shaw

    Last edited by ThoreauFan; 06-19-2006 at 03:03 PM.

     
    Old 06-19-2006, 08:15 PM   #7
    ember919
    Senior Member
    (female)
     
    Join Date: Mar 2006
    Location: tx
    Posts: 233
    ember919 HB User
    Re: surgery(C5-C6) on Friday...what to expect?

    HTF,
    You've had a lot to absorb in a short period of time. The fears you're experiencing are ones that most here will tell you they had early on, too. You're just having to deal with it all in a rather compressed timeframe.

    I can remember wondering, half seriously, if my head was going to fall off if I tripped over a shoelace or drove over a pothole. And once my doctor assured me I wasn't in danger of becoming a bobblehead before I could get to surgery, I of course started worrying about the surgery itself. What if the surgeon sneezed? What if he dropped something into the giant hole he was getting ready to cut in my neck? Would I wake up with forceps coming out my nose?

    OK, seriously, I worried about, yes, dying or waking up paralyzed. And it was a very scary place to be. But, you know what? The more I talked about it and the more I learned, the safer I felt. I was lucky in that I had time to ask questions and digest it all, and to get to a comfortable place in my head.

    Even though I admit I had some miserable nights in those first couple of weeks after surgery, all in all I have to say I felt better than I had expected to. Hopefully your 'rough' part will pass quickly. Despite the recent - ahem - b*tchin' and moanin' I've done on this board, I'm still happy I had my surgery, I feel that the results will improve my quality of life, and I feel no qualms in recommending it to others.

    This from somebody who had to be practically dragged, kicking and screaming, into the idea of even considering the surgical option.

    My advice would be to have a few soft, gel ice packs on hand so you can ice on a regular basis for the first couple of days. Have some soft foods available and be prepared to maybe have to cut your pills up for a little while. Have several pillows so you can prop yourself up - I don't think anyone here actually slept laying down at the beginning? And when you do start feeling better, remember not to overdo things too quickly. It IS a major surgery and your body does need time to recover.

    Good luck with it all, and don't forget to check back afterwards with word of your recovery.

     
    Old 06-20-2006, 07:45 AM   #8
    humantunigfork
    Junior Member
    (male)
     
    Join Date: Jun 2006
    Location: roanoke, VA
    Posts: 47
    humantunigfork HB User
    Re: surgery(C5-C6) on Friday...what to expect?

    thanks for the encouragement...I do recall Alstott having this surgery now that you mention it...that is amazing he is still playing football...however...I think it is probably wise to avoid the contact sports...God willing I will be in any shape to do any of it...my problem is during the winter..playing basketball is my only real exercise...my wife does all of those machines and such...but I guess I am just ball-o-centric...I have to have some game involved in order to exercise...surely that in itself is some sort of disorder!

     
    Old 06-21-2006, 06:48 AM   #9
    CFD050161
    Junior Member
    (female)
     
    Join Date: Apr 2006
    Posts: 13
    CFD050161 HB User
    Re: surgery(C5-C6) on Friday...what to expect?

    Humantunigfork,

    Cant advise what to expect, my surgery next month C4-C7 but wanted to wish you good luck. Keep a positive outlook, all will go well!

    Lettie

     
    Closed Thread




    Thread Tools Search this Thread
    Search this Thread:

    Advanced Search

    Posting Rules
    You may not post new threads
    You may not post replies
    You may not post attachments
    You may not edit your posts

    BB code is On
    Smilies are On
    [IMG] code is Off
    HTML code is Off
    Trackbacks are Off
    Pingbacks are Off
    Refbacks are Off




    Sign Up Today!

    Ask our community of thousands of members your health questions, and learn from others experiences. Join the conversation!

    I want my free account

    All times are GMT -7. The time now is 05:04 PM.





    2019 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved.
    Do not copy or redistribute in any form!