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    Old 04-07-2013, 10:39 AM   #1
    DG132's Avatar
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    DG132 HB User
    Athlete with ACDF C6-C7

    Hi all. I underwent an ACDF at C6-C7 on Wednesday, April 3rd. I'm writing this post to give a bright report for those of who may be considering the procedure to alleviate symptoms related to herniated cervical discs. After my own time reviewing posts prior to meeting with my neurosurgeon, I was terribly anxious and somewhat terrified to undergo the surgery. Most of what we read on here and other sites focus on the negative. I do understand that people posting on here are looking for guidance in dealing with what can be terribly painful issues, and those with success stories are off living their lives with great recoveries. So, my intention is to give some positive perspective for those who may be able to relate to my story. So, a little background:

    I am a 36 year old female. I'm very active and compete in and coach CrossFit, which is a very highly intense mode of achieving fitness. I actually competed in the CrossFit Games last year on my affiliate team. Anyway, that being said, I injured myself in Sept of '12 and after some misdiagnosed issues of a pinched nerve and spondylosis, I finally got an MRI in Feb of this year. I was experiencing pretty extreme muscle weakness in my left arm, pain in my neck and arm, and radiculopathy throughout my left upper extremity. I took drugs, got adjusted by my chiro, and pursued conservative physical therapy. The pain in my neck and arm improved, but the weakness and numbness never got better. The MRI revealed a severely herniated disc at C6-C7, that had actually fragmented, with pieces putting pressure on my spinal column and nerve root leading out to my left arm. I have a herniation at C5-C6, but no symptoms related to it. I was referred to a NS and, after a couple of opinions, agreed to undergo surgery with a NS with a very solid reputation.

    I was fit going into the surgery, but still worried about the outcome... When I woke up from surgery, the first thing I did was wiggle all of my fingers and toes. I had a bit of an issue during surgery that gave the surgical team a scare when my temp spiked near the end of surgery, but they were able to get that under control. For this reason, I woke up to a team in the recovery room checking my temp every few minutes and packing me with ice. They also had me eating ice chips right away to help with the temp. My throat was sore from the procedure, but nowhere near what I expected after reading posts on here. The ice helped a ton and I requested throat lozenges to help with some dry mouth. I had one dose of pain meds immediately upon waking and NO MORE since then! I was moved to my room and spent the night there. I was up to use the restroom about two hours after coming out of surgery. I was walking a lap around our floor about an hour later because I didn't want to have to wear the leg pump tights and that was the only way I could get out of them!

    I was visited by my NS the next morning and when he checked my strength, he stated I had already regained a great deal back to my left arm and my numbness was completely gone. I still had not had anymore pain meds. Don't get me wrong, I was in some discomfort, but it wasn't so much pain as it was soreness. I could handle the soreness, but not the loopiness the pain meds made me feel. I went home that day and finally put a soft collar on for the car ride home. I had been instructed to wear it only if my neck needed a break. My family took me to fill my prescription and I headed home to relax. I was instructed to move my neck as little as possible and not lift more than ten lbs, but I was finding this to be tough. I honestly felt very little restriction in my neck! I made myself wear my soft collar to keep myself from moving too much.

    Jump ahead three days and I'm now four days post-op. I made breakfast for the family this morning and helped clean yesterday. I attended a function at my gym yesterday and have been walking a good deal each day. I was tired yesterday, but again, I've been pretty active. I've been able to sleep in my bed comfortably. I use my cervical support pillow and have made it through the night every night. Last night was my best night of sleep. It's taking some getting used to staying on my back as I sleep. I've taken some regular Tylenol for some muscular soreness between my shoulder blades, along with a bunch of vitamins like calcium, vitamin D, B, magnesium, and fish oil, but that is all. I have permission to start no impact cardio tomorrow, so I'll be on an elliptical, stationary bike, and stair climber, along with some leg exercises, but that is it until my follow up on the 15th. I'll probably go back to work following my follow up. I will be released to more physical activity as my NS sees fit.

    I feel very fortunate to have such a wonderful outcome, thus far. I know it's important to respect the healing process by sticking to what my NS says I am allowed to do and NOT overdoing it. I hope the healing process continues to be so smooth! I also hope this helps any of you who may be in similar situations as am I. I know it's not always possible, but being in the best possible health going into this surgery can significantly improve the outcome, along with finding a stellar NS.

    Good luck to all who are considering or have undergone this procedure!

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    Old 04-07-2013, 12:14 PM   #2
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    Re: Athlete with ACDF C6-C7

    Thank you sooooo much for posting this! Like you said, I'm due to have a similar surgery and after reading some posts I got so nervous. I want to be able to return to work like my Dr. said- after 2 weeks. It's great to know you had such a good outcome.

    Old 04-07-2013, 01:01 PM   #3
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    Re: Athlete with ACDF C6-C7

    Just underlines how important it is to get the very best surgeon. So many people posting on this board have done much worse...

    Old 04-18-2013, 10:07 PM   #4
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    Re: Athlete with ACDF C6-C7

    Hi there... just wondering how you're doing... I'm getting my 2nd cervical fusion this Tues, the first one was C5-C7 and lasted almost 5 years before C4 became herniated.

    Old 04-18-2013, 10:22 PM   #5
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    Re: Athlete with ACDF C6-C7

    I'm 16 days post-op today. It's my 2nd day back to work too. Recovery has continued to be extremely easy. Yesterday was my worst day so far, with trap and tricep spasms, but it was my 1st day back to work and 1st day spent mostly upright. I started PT last week and am super thankful for that. Sticking to doc's order of no more than 20 lbs, but you can do a lot with 10 lb dumbbells... I haven't even taken a Tylenol in over a week... I still have some spasms and feel some residual weakness on my left side, but I'm confident that those nerves will wake up well. All-in-all, I'm extremely happy I chose to go through with the surgery! I have to restrain myself from doin more than I'm allowed. I had my 1st post-op follow up three days ago and the hardware is just fine. My cut looks amazingly minimal and I am again especially thankful for an amazing neurosurgeon. I go back in four weeks and hope for fewer restrictions then!

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    Old 04-23-2013, 02:37 PM   #6
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    Re: Athlete with ACDF C6-C7

    Glad to hear that you are doing great after your surgery! I also had the same situation with a great outcome! I am in Phoenix as well and was wondering who your surgeon was and where you had the surgery done.

    Old 08-06-2013, 10:16 AM   #7
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    Wink Re: Athlete with ACDF C6-C7

    Wow.........I am soooooooooo amazed and happpppppy with relief to hear about your full experience of ACDF C6 ~C7

    My future is looking brighter each day.

    Thank you once again for your story.

    Please post again for any further follow up success.

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