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  • return to active life after acdf?

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    Old 06-01-2002, 11:40 AM   #1
    tilliejacques
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    return to active life after acdf?

    Hi,
    As I think you can see from my sig, I'm a newbie here so please be merciful and let me know of any mis-steps. This looks like a very helpful and compassionate site.

    My question is, after reading searching reading all the good stuff here, have people been able to pick up their physically active lives after surgery? I take care of my two horses at home every day and I ride one horse 6 days a week and jump 1-2 days a week and go to horse shows about 10 times a year. Will I lose my life style?? I realize no one can guarantee anything but it would be helpful to me in my surgery decision whether others have successfully picked up very active and concussive-type lives.

    Background: I got some whiplash last weekend when my horse and I disagreed on when to take off over a jump (she won) and ended up with pins and needles in the arms and hands. One thing led to another and the MRI shows disk problems and bone spurs at C5-6, similar to other posts I've seen.

    The NS isn't saying I *have* to have surgery, but that if I do this again or am in a car accident or slip in the shower, the result could be "very bad" (it makes me nervous when a NS says "very bad"). So I'm very much leaning toward the surgery but need to get another opinion or two first of course. I just saw the first NS two days ago. Seeing the MRI is very convincing....

    I would like to add my cheer that it is so good to read about good recoveries and not just the bad. I don't really have any pain now and to opt for surgery, just to avoid potential future pain/paralysis, and then have permananent issues due to the surgery, well, it seems like a tough decision.

    Thanks to you all for your help,
    Laurie

    Laurie

     
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    Old 06-01-2002, 02:42 PM   #2
    teri maunder
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    Re: return to active life after acdf?

    Hi Laurie,
    I'm pretty new at this board as well. I know what you are going through. I was in great health up until February this year when I woke up one day and could not get out of bed! Had xrays,MRIs done, turns out I have a couple of herniated discs. One is worse than the others. I was in pain for a while, numbness,tingling.It all went away after a couple of months. I did have numbness,weakness in my right arm but I was pain free, I felt great. My Neurologist would not release me back to work until I went to see a Neurosurgoen. He was concerned with the spinal cord compression that my MRIs showed. I got 3 opinions, all different. One said go back to work,don't worry about it, another was more concerned about the compression,and having a very physical job (flight attendant) and a physical lifestyle, he never said you MUST operate, but I risk a chance of doing severe damage to my spinal cord if I left it the way it is. He recommended doing a Laminectomy, which is removing parts of the vertebrae, to make space in the spinal column. I went to see an ortho surgeon he said ,n o laminectomy, I would do a discectomy on the one herniated disc. Believe you me, I was so scared and confused!

    I ended having the Laminectomy procedure done just this last week. I think I made the right choice. There was no way I was going to go back to work knowing everything I knew about the conditon of my neck. I couldn't do it! And it was a hard decision to make because I WAS feeling so great! The Laminectomy has created room on my spinal cord, which was most important. My recovery is going very well. I'm the only one on this message board that has had this procedure done. Everyone else pretty much has had an anterior cervical discetomy with fusion. You will learn a lot by reading this board. It has helped me a lot!!

    My Dr. hasn't made me any promises that I will never hve complications with my neck down the road. I still have the herniations, bone spurring, osteoarthritis,....I know now that I have a worn out neck (probably from 16 years of flying), I deal with it the best I can, and I will try to live my old lifestyle as best as I can.

    What I've definitely learned from this whole experience,I think everyone on this board will agree, you will get different opinions,you will have to decide for yourself, which is the right one, and listen to your gut.

    If you have any more questions, there are a lot of people here that are more than wiliing to listen.

    Teri <IMG SRC="http://www.healthboards.com/ubb/smile.gif">

     
    Old 06-01-2002, 04:06 PM   #3
    Nanner
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    Re: return to active life after acdf?

    Laurie, I am in a cycling club and was talking to one of the other members at the last meeting. He had ACDF back in 94, and he missed one summer of riding (he was a competitive cyclist at the time) and has been back ever since. He does some mountain biking, but I'm strictly a roadie. Less bouncing than horseback riding, to be sure.

    I have every intention of getting on the bike again next year. I even rode a couple of times this season, but discovered after 27 miles last Sunday that the headache and arm pain after were a good reason to get the problem attended to. I *want* to be more active again, I *want* to be able to walk a mile without my arm having fits. For me, surgery was the only real option after trying conservative treatment.

    One good thing about my mount is it doesn't require feeding and exercise when I can't attend to it. If you decide to get surgery you will need some help with that for a while. Don't be afraid to ask for it.

    Good luck and feel free to write here with questions. We may not be experts, but we try to give good information.<p>[This message has been edited by Nanner (edited 06-01-2002).]

     
    Old 06-01-2002, 10:22 PM   #4
    tilliejacques
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    Re: return to active life after acdf?

    Teri and Nanner, thanks for your replies! <IMG SRC="http://www.healthboards.com/ubb/smile.gif">

    It's sure nice to talk to others about this. Since I don't feel broken, it's hard for me to think about doing something that could stop me from riding so it's great to hear about your cycling club buddy.

    I'm lucky that I have a desk job so I would be able to return after a week or so, according to the NS. That would be a great thing.

    I've already thought about the horses, that's a really good point. It's easy enough, though $$$, to board them out some place for a few months. My husband rides motorcycles (off road trials) and we have ongoing discussions about his 'steed' vs mine: which is smarter, easier to take care of, etc.

    My husband also had a cervical fusion about 35 years ago, in the C2-3 I think, due to rhuematoid (sp?) arthritis. A couple years after he had the fusion, he was in a road motorcycle accident that he believes would've paralyzed him if he hadn't had the fusion. Broke his jaw, arm, and leg. Definitely moved his neck around!

    thanks again,
    Laurie

     
    Old 06-04-2002, 07:53 AM   #5
    Nanner
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    Re: return to active life after acdf?

    Talked to my cycling buddy last night at our monthly meeting and I was shocked. He said he took the first spin on his bike-with the doc's approval-three months post-surgery! He only was going about 6 miles to start, but I'm just amazed he was even on the bike that soon.

    Everyone is different, but that gives me hope I might get a few brief rides in before the snow flies. Since they told me it would be 3 months before the collar comes off, I thought this season was over. We'll see...

     
    Old 06-04-2002, 10:52 AM   #6
    countrygirl47
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    Re: return to active life after acdf?

    Laurie, I am new at this too. I have a problem a C5-6. Mail carrier and I have horses. I am trying to open a riding school for handdicapped children so I am very interested in your progress. Right now I have the electricity going in the right shoulder blade and goes down the arm when I use it. (I picked up a very heavy package at work April 18) Since about two weeks ago, I am now having headaches and a very stiff neck so it must be getting worse. Have had the MRI and I am waiting for a Myelogram. Will keep you posted on my progress. I truly love horses and this is killing me not being able to ride. I hope for the best for you! Take Care, Cherri

     
    Old 06-04-2002, 12:28 PM   #7
    tilliejacques
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    Re: return to active life after acdf?

    Hi Nanner,
    The NS had told me that the first concussive-type activity shouldn't happen for three months after surgery, so it sounds like your friend was right on that schedule. I guess/hope he had had indications of a good fusion by then?? I think I would worry until that bone showed pretty solid. I've read here about plates coming off --ugh! It sounds doable for you to ride before winter--I think your surgery is in June (good luck!!! <IMG SRC="http://www.healthboards.com/ubb/angel.gif">) so 3 months is September? I guess you'd better be riding in September to miss the first Michigan snow! <IMG SRC="http://www.healthboards.com/ubb/wink.gif">

    Hi Cherri,
    The NS said that after the surgery I should be able to do everything I do now so I'm very hopeful (or naive maybe). But then I have no cord impingement, only nerve root compression also at the C5-6 due to bone spur. The spur is just up against the cord/nerve roots and only pushed into them when I had the whiplash. I have the tingling in my arms, now reduced to just thumb and forefinger after a week. I hate not to ride also, but I'm sure more worried about another whiplash that might make me worse. I go for a second opinion 6/11 and back to the first NS on 6/25, so we'll see what happens. Good luck with your Myelogram! I love the idea of your riding school so I hope it gets to happen.

    Laurie

     
    Old 06-04-2002, 04:53 PM   #8
    countrygirl47
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    Re: return to active life after acdf?

    Thanks Laurie, I will have the riding school!! I am trying the "positive thinking process" <IMG SRC="http://www.healthboards.com/ubb/smile.gif">. I will not let this get me down. And the same goes for you. There was a saying that came in my email and part of it goes like this... You choose how you react to situations, you choose how people affect your mood, You choose to be in a good mood or bad, Attitude is after all, everything!" Well I hope that is right, because I choose to ride again! ha! Talk to you later, Take Care, Cherri

     
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