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    Old 09-28-2007, 04:07 PM   #1
    Fiona_Jo
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    Question Still NOT showing signs of Fusing. What does it mean? LONG.. sorry

    Fusion/instrumentation - C5-C7


    Hi everyone!! I just had a 12 week follow-up visit with my Doctor and all and all the appointment went well. I'm actually doing pretty well, feeling more strength in my left hand (still a little pain at times), but having my strength back has always been a BIG concern of mine.

    Anyway, a couple of weeks ago I had a set-back in that the stomach flu (kids back in school) hit our family BIG time and it seemed to hit me the hardest. I was vomiting to the point that even a sip of water had me back to the toilet, and needless to say I became very weak and lost lots of weight AND of course the vomiting hurt my neck like crazy. Every time I had to vomit, I cried because the pain was so bad in my neck and jaw line. Hindsight being 20/20 I probably should have gone to the hospital, but I couldn't imagine leaving my house at that point.

    Long story short it took along time for my neck to feel as good as it had been feeling. So, that was a bit of a setback. Another setback was that I slept on my neck wrong (don't ask me how), but I ended up on my stomach (never sleep on my stomach) and woke up with my neck completely twisted around and AGAIN, couldn't move my neck for a couple days and I had really strange neurological symptoms that scared me to death. This time my Neurologist (who I also just saw) said I DEFINITELY should have gone to the hospital and he was even on call. But, you all know I don't like hospitals- every surgery I'm released early and would have with my last surgery if I didn't get an infection.

    Anyway, I'm feeling MUCH better and I was able to recover at home and my neck is still stiff, but doesn't hurt as bad and the weird symptoms have passed and my ENERGY is back.

    My major concern now is I had my 12 week follow-up and I'm still not showing signs of fusing.
    -What could this mean?
    - Is it too early to be concerned??
    - Will I suddenly just start fusing?

    Since my last appointment I've been wearing the Cervical-Stim - four hours a day and I thought for SURE that I would show signs of fusing, but so far I'm not. I will have another appointment in 6 weeks, will the fusing suddenly start in the next 6 weeks?

    I was a little disappointed. What are other's experiences with fusing. My concerns also stem from the fact that after the lumbar fusion, I had started fusing by the first follow-up appointment!

    Really, I would just like other people's experiences with cervical fusing.
    - Is it slower than lumbar?
    -When did you start fusing?
    -What happens if you don't fuse?

    Thanks!

    ~ Fiona
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    Last edited by Fiona_Jo; 09-28-2007 at 04:10 PM.

     
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    Old 09-29-2007, 12:23 AM   #2
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    Smile Re: Still NOT showing signs of Fusing. What does it mean? LONG.. sorry

    Anyone WILLING to share their experiences (positive and negative) is really appreciated.



    ~ Fiona

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    Old 09-29-2007, 04:38 AM   #3
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    Re: Still NOT showing signs of Fusing. What does it mean? LONG.. sorry

    Good Morning Fiona,

    I am not sure I have any insight for you...I really just wanted to check in with you and say hello!
    So hello

    Sorry to hear of the set backs. I can imagine the enormous amount of pain you must have had when vommitting!! How awful for you.

    I hope that from this point on you do start to fuse and things continue down the road of a good recovery.

    Hang in. and nice to hear from you.....Chrissy

     
    Old 09-29-2007, 05:42 PM   #4
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    Re: Still NOT showing signs of Fusing. What does it mean? LONG.. sorry

    Thanks Chrissy!

    I'm sorry about everything you're going through! I'm trying to keep caught up with your thread and from what I'm reading things are really rough for you and I can really empathize and I appreciate your continued compassion towards me.

    I'm sure you feel the same as I do (as do others on this forum), we're just plain frustrated and I'm sure no matter what stage we are in the process (testing, PT, pre-surgical, post-surgical), we all can understand the challenges that each of us face. You and I are SO similar because we had both finally been to the point where we had other health challenges under control and then injured our necks. It's like - when DOES it end and the pain subside?? I know you've had the same experience - you finally feel like you might be on the road to recovering and then something happens that impacts your body's healing.

    At least health wise I'm stronger (though that stomach flu took a lot out of me). But, I feeling discouraged that I'm not showing signs of fusing yet (when I showed signs pretty quickly after my lumbar fusion).

    So, now I'm hoping I get some replies to this thread from others that have had the ACDF procedure
    (I know there's many on this forum), that can shed some light on this for me and let me know when they FIRST showed signs of fusing. I wouldn't be so concerned if my Surgeon didn't appear so concerned and the thing is I've been wearing my Cervical Stimulator religiously and Cervical Stim's have a GREAT track record for facilitating fusing.

    Again, you're in my thoughts and I hope you get answers SOON!

    ~ Jo

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    Old 09-29-2007, 06:48 PM   #5
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    Re: Still NOT showing signs of Fusing. What does it mean? LONG.. sorry

    My surgeon did not want to commit to telling me I was fusing till I was 6 months post op. I hope that helps.

     
    Old 09-30-2007, 08:39 PM   #6
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    Re: Still NOT showing signs of Fusing. What does it mean? LONG.. sorry

    What is the doctor saying about your progress? Fusion is a long process so it's hard to say at 6 weeks that you'd see actual fusion - is the doctor seeing any progress in bone growth? That's the first part of fusion.
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    Old 09-30-2007, 08:41 PM   #7
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    Re: Still NOT showing signs of Fusing. What does it mean? LONG.. sorry

    ^
    SKZ - Thanks for the reply. MY surgeon and from what I've read post ACDF the fusion prognosis is six months. Many my surgeon is different, but I'm X-rayed EVERY visit and apparently on the X-Rays it will show signs of fusing.

    This is my concern. Is it normal to NOT see any signs of the beginning stages of fusing?

    I would like to know if others failed to show ANY signs early on? The reality is I'm almost 3 months post-op, you'd think we'd see SOME signs of fusing by now.

    Thanks for your reply! I hope to hear other's experience with fusing and ACDF!!


    ~ Fiona
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    Old 10-01-2007, 12:23 AM   #8
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    Question Re: Still NOT showing signs of Fusing. What does it mean? LONG.. sorry

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by kross426 View Post
    What is the doctor saying about your progress? Fusion is a long process so it's hard to say at 6 weeks that you'd see actual fusion - is the doctor seeing any progress in bone growth? That's the first part of fusion.

    I'm actually closer to 12 weeks post-op. The surgery was 7/17. That's the thing my Doctor is indicating there really doesn't seem to much sign of even BEGINNING fusing. I had fused so quickly with my lumbar fusion, so that's why I'm concerned.

    My last visit was when they put me on the Cervical-stimulator and I've worn it as prescribed - four hours daily. So, my expectation was that I'd at least show signs of BEGINNING fusing.

    My thing is I'm already half-way to 6 months and it seems like I'd be showing some signs. I don't want to be too worrisome and my expectations have been unrealistic.

    What happens if a person doesn't fuse?


    I appreciate the response.

    ~ Fiona
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    Old 10-01-2007, 07:12 PM   #9
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    Re: Still NOT showing signs of Fusing. What does it mean? LONG.. sorry

    Fiona:

    Sorry, don't know where I got the 6 weeks from :-)

    If the surgery was done correctly I would think, unless there was something unusual about your body's healing abilities, that you would fuse. Especially given the fact you've previously fused with a lumbar fusion (looks like we're in the same boat there). I too used the cervical stim unit 4 hours per day and used it for 6 full months after the cervical fusion. At the next visit be sure to pointedly ask the physician what he/she means by no signs of fusion and if he/she is of the same opinion I'd quickly get a second opinion. Sorry if I missed it but when do you see the surgeon again?
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    Old 10-02-2007, 07:18 PM   #10
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    Re: Still NOT showing signs of Fusing. What does it mean? LONG.. sorry

    One additional thought...not sure what you've been taking for pain meds - but my doctor said to not take NSAIDS (aspirin, advil, aleve, etc) for at least 6 months post fusion surgery as they can inhibit fusion.
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    Old 10-09-2007, 02:03 AM   #11
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    Re: Still NOT showing signs of Fusing. What does it mean? LONG.. sorry

    I had ACDF 2 weeks ago and went for my first check up. I read up a lot on what to do to help stimulate bone growth and either I stink at searching or there is not much. I did read that eating protein helped. My neurosurgeon suggested taking calcium supplements and definitely stay away from NSAIDs as in the post before mine. Smoking is a major no no and I was/am a smoker and trying to quit as the nicotine inhibits bone growth. Hope this helps!
    MimGregg

     
    Old 10-20-2007, 08:30 PM   #12
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    Re: Still NOT showing signs of Fusing. What does it mean? LONG.. sorry

    I apologize for my lack of responding to this thread. I have just really been struggling with the neck pain and that combined with the issues I'm experiencing with a lupus flare is making it difficult to get on the computer. Today has been a good day, so I'm getting caught up. I appreciate all the additional replies I've received!

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by kross426 View Post
    I too used the cervical stim unit 4 hours per day and used it for 6 full months after the cervical fusion. At the next visit be sure to pointedly ask the physician what he/she means by no signs of fusion and if he/she is of the same opinion I'd quickly get a second opinion. Sorry if I missed it but when do you see the surgeon again?
    Karin - I really appreciate your replies. It helps so much to get your input. We do have things in common, it's nice talking to someone else that has had to use the Cervical Stim. My next appointment is 11/9 and if things aren't looking any better than I will definitely press my Surgeon for more answers. My main concern was the LOOK of concern on my Surgeon's PA face. My surgeon seemed less concerned, but to show NO signs of even beginning bone growth seems strange.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by kross426 View Post
    One additional thought...not sure what you've been taking for pain meds - but my doctor said to not take NSAIDS (aspirin, advil, aleve, etc) for at least 6 months post fusion surgery as they can inhibit fusion.
    I definitely have not been taking any of these medications. Currently, I'm still taking Norco's for pain. I'm actually concerned about the fact that I'm still taking prescribed pain medications and having to take a muscle relaxer. I just was expecting to be so much farther along in this journey. I know we're all different in the length of time we need pain meds and I definitely understand the importance and need for them in managing pain. I'm just fearful about my pain levels. Hopefully, it's a good thing and means there is bone growth occurring.


    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mimgregg View Post
    I had ACDF 2 weeks ago and went for my first check up. I read up a lot on what to do to help stimulate bone growth and either I stink at searching or there is not much. I did read that eating protein helped. My neurosurgeon suggested taking calcium supplements and definitely stay away from NSAIDs as in the post before mine. Smoking is a major no no and I was/am a smoker and trying to quit as the nicotine inhibits bone growth. Hope this helps!
    MimGregg
    Thanks! I appreciate the input. I'm definitely eating protein. (I always try to serve high protein meals for my family). But, I'm sure there's always room for improvement, so I appreciate the reminder. I'm definitely staying away from NSAIDs and am a non-smoker. I do have lupus and have been in a flare, so I wonder if that could be a factor? That is something I definitely need to talk to my Surgeon about. Also, my Surgeon did prescribe calcium supplements which I take religiously.

    Again, I appreciate all the replies and if anyone else can share when they FIRST showed evidence of bone growth POST-OP, I would really appreciate it. This forum is so wonderful and I appreciate the replies.


    ~ Fiona
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    Last edited by Fiona_Jo; 10-20-2007 at 09:56 PM.

     
    Old 10-21-2007, 08:43 PM   #13
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    Re: Still NOT showing signs of Fusing. What does it mean? LONG.. sorry

    Hi Fiona, I had my fusion done Aug 06. I used the "stim" too for 6 months. I was on Pain meds and sleeping aids for the first 2 months and then just sleep aid for the 3rd month. At my second follow up I should bone formation and at the 6 month mark It was good enough she released me to go back to work. I couldnt because 2 weeks later I had to have my shoulder reconstructed.
    The only other piece of advice I could add to the great feed back youve been getting is if you drink anything with caffene in it...Stop. It leachs calcium. It also makes it harder for your body to absorb the supliments. I dont know much about Lupis except that it can be miserable to the extreme. My heart goes out to you.
    It has been 14 months since my neck fusion and the only side effect I have is if I look down for long periods I get a headache at the base of my scull. I am glad it is all behind me and I wish you a swift recovery. By all means question the surgeon as to what might deter the bone formation if it still isnt showing after 6 months. Also I had very little pain after 4 months and none at the 6 month mark.
    Good luck,
    Beth
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    Old 10-21-2007, 11:34 PM   #14
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    Re: Still NOT showing signs of Fusing. What does it mean? LONG.. sorry

    ^

    Beth - Thanks so much for your informative reply.
    I have been trying to avoid caffeine and am definitely not a coffee drinker. I do have a soda from time to time, but I would hope not enough to inhibit bone growth. But, I will work on strictly drinking water (which I do tend to drink a lot of anyway).

    I'm anxious for my next appointment to see where I stand. Your reply really helps. I know ALL our bodies are different as far as we heal, but it's so helpful to hear different perspectives. It's comforting to have other experiences to gauge my progress on.

    ~ Fiona
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    Old 10-22-2007, 06:11 AM   #15
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    Re: Still NOT showing signs of Fusing. What does it mean? LONG.. sorry

    Fiona,

    I had ACDF C5/6/7 9/25/07 and my NS isn't even going to get an x-ray until 12/25/07 (3 months out). He doesn't think it is worth looking at until then, because not seeing fusion before then does not mean it will not happen. He said some NS take them at 6-8 weeks. If they see fusion, the person feels great. But if they don't, the patient worries unnecessarily.

     
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