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



Spinal Cord Disorders Message Board

  • One month post operation report - Long

  • Post New Thread   Closed Thread
    Thread Tools Search this Thread
    Old 04-28-2003, 09:43 PM   #1
    V-Neck
    Newbie
     
    Join Date: Apr 2003
    Location: Redwood City, California USA
    Posts: 8
    V-Neck HB User
    Post One month post operation report - Long

    Hi,

    I started lurking in this board prior to my surgery and have learned a lot. I was impressed by the support and comradeship I saw here. However, I did not feel that I had enough to contribute then, so I did not register to be a member. Now that I have gone through what some have gone through, I can share my experience.


    Background:

    I am a 40-year-old male. I have been fairly healthy until now. I do not remember one specific incident that would explain my present condition. I did have my share of fender bender accidents but never had any neck pain afterwards. I have had an active, rough and tumble life style, regularly played volleyball, used to be a soccer goalkeeper, etc. Again, no memorable falls or long lasting pain anywhere…

    Symptoms Before the Operation:

    1- Wrist and forearm cramping on both arms, during activities like rock climbing or kayak paddling – started about 5 years ago with a burning sensation, the kind you get if you hit your “funny bone” on your elbow onto a hard object.
    2- Twitching of certain muscles on both arms, forearms, and pinky finger – started about 3 years ago.
    3- Soreness of shoulders and arms, similar to the soreness after a good workout – not sure when it started since I thought it was due to my usual work-outs/volleyball.
    4- Deep, low level pain in both shoulders, upper arms, forearms, without prior physical activity – started about 6 months ago.
    5- Numbness / tingling / itching feelings on both pinky fingers and the adjacent area of the palm and wrist – started about a year ago.
    6- Left arm falling asleep (pins and needles feeling) when my neck is in a certain position – started about 6 months ago and then stopped upon restricting my physical activity.

    Experience with Doctors:

    1- A general practitioner (who had left a good impression on me on previous visits) said that “You seem to have a nerve damage but I do not know from what”, and left it at that. He did not take my condition seriously nor did he suggest a course of action.
    2- A neurologist who ordered MRI and sent me to a neurosurgeon upon reviewing the results.
    3- First neurosurgeon who also required x-rays told me that I have a 70-year-old person’s neck (I am 40 years old). He also told me that I had 4 ruptured disks in my neck and I should have surgery as soon as possible. He said that he would do at least 2 levels and use my own bone for the fusing.
    4- Second Neurosurgeon proposed to do 3 levels and use donor bone for the fusing. He also mentioned that he might do the remaining level after I healed (a posterior operation). I chose the second surgeon since I preferred using donor bone, had nurse friends at the hospital he worked and the hospital was much closer to my house.

    Doctor’s Findings:

    1- Hyperflexia (sp?), very sharp reflexes – my foot flies up in the air when my knee is struck.
    2- Positive for Hoffmann’s sign. (I had tested negative a year and a half ago).
    3- Smaller mass of right arm triceps, easily visible when compared to left arm. Although I had same symptoms for both arms, right arm symptoms started earlier.
    4- MRI results (from what I remember): Narrowing of spinal canal at C3-C4, C4-C5, C5-C6 and C6-C7. Worst level was C5-C6, narrowed down to 8mm, and the next worst was C6-C7 at 9mm. I recently read the following written by an MD in one of the boards: “Throughout the cervical region (which of course would include C4-6), the lowest limit of normal for AP diameter of the canal is variable among different individuals. However, 13-20mm is the reported "normal range" reported by some neuroradiology textbooks and articles.”

    Operation and Recovery:

    I was operated on 3/27/03. C4 through C7 was fused (3 levels) using donor bone and titanium plate. The operation was supposed to be 3 hours long but it lasted close to 6 hours. I was not given an explanation for the delay. I stayed 2 nights at the hospital. It seemed like I could have left after the first night, if I requested. During my first night I was on morphine, the next day I switched to Vicodin, mainly due to disconnection of my IV tube. The worst days of my recovery were on 3rd and 4th days. My throat swelled up and I couldn’t even swallow fluids without trouble. Fluids seemed to go down to the wrong pipe and I was scared to cough. A nurse friend told me later that the 3rd day after surgery is the worst day in many surgeries. My throat got better slowly and I was back to soft foods on day 5 or 6. My voice turned to normal on day 5. I did not have pain if I was stationary. A pain would develop in the middle of my back if I walked for too long. “Too long” meant 10 minutes during the first week, and later it meant 20 minutes or more. Now, a month after the operation, I can walk for an hour, briskly, before I feel pain in the base of my neck (where I guess to be C7 level).

    I am wearing a soft brace and will wear it for 2 months total. I started driving after 2 weeks and started work in 3 weeks after the operation. Of course, in the first week of returning to work I did not do much and had short workdays. In order to put up with long hours of sitting, I used a large plastic storage container lid propped on my chair, and a pillow under my head. I had to experiment with different chairs to get it just right.

    Lingering Symptoms / Complaints after one month:

    1- Left shoulder / upper arm / forearm pain is still there, seems more frequent than pre-surgery but not as severe as it sometimes was.
    2- Tingly /itchy feeling of my left pinky and adjacent area is present and seems more frequent than before.
    3- Deep dull ache that was present on my left shoulder and upper arm is less frequent and less severe.
    4- Above 3 symptoms for my right arm are greatly diminished since the surgery.
    5- Twitching on both arms and pinky are still present but diminished since the surgery.
    6- There is pain when I swallow. It feels more like a low level sore throat. It is sometimes worse than other times. My throat feels tender to touch (not the incision site). I have difficulty swallowing foods like bread. I have to wash it down with large amount of fluids.
    7- I have pain in the base of my neck, in the back, after some physical activity. Also another occasional pain is on the left side of my neck (incision side), extending to the back of my ear.

    To those that are still reading: I congratulate you on your patience and perseverance. I just read what I wrote and found it to be quite long and dry. I wanted to make sure I gave the full report so that both pre and post operation people get to compare their symptoms with mine.


    ------------------
    V-Neck
    ADCF C4-7 with titanium plate, using donor bone
    3/27/03
    __________________
    V-Neck
    ACDF C4-7 with titanium plate, using donor bone
    3/27/03

     
    Sponsors Lightbulb
       
    Old 04-29-2003, 04:30 AM   #2
    Midge130
    Senior Member
     
    Join Date: Apr 2003
    Location: Mich, USA
    Posts: 240
    Midge130 HB User
    Post

    Gosh, you have been through a lot. Hopefully the trouble you are still having will eventually go away. Does the doctor say if it will or not?

    Midge
    __________________
    -Born a premie in 1964-8 wks early
    -C-section 1990, 1992, & 1995
    -Shoulder pain since 2000
    -C4-C5 bone spurs causing central canal stenosis. Annular tear.
    -C5-C6 mild narrowing of canal.
    -C6-C7 disc bone spur and annular tear.
    -C7-T1 bone spur and annular tear.
    -No surgery;I'm not bad enough yet!

     
    Old 04-29-2003, 07:03 AM   #3
    BDW2
    Member
     
    Join Date: Mar 2003
    Location: USA
    Posts: 87
    BDW2 HB User
    Post

    Welcome V-Neck,
    I am a 41 year old male that just had ACDF C6-7 with plating and donor bone on 3-28. My symptoms were similar to yours, burning shoulder, blades, down through my upper arm, elbow, lower arm, into my two middle fingers mainly on the left side. I fought it for a year, and finally had surgery. Went through all the conservative treatments, three opinions, ect. I still have some pain at different areas at different times but overall do feel somewhat better, and seems to be improving daily. Throat is back to normal except for voice, that is slowly returning. I am praying daily that most of this remaining pain will go away or at least be managable, that I can return to my "near" normal activities, and that my voice returns. I know that you are hoping for the same, we have to keep the faith. Thanks for the post.

    ------------------
    ACDF C6-7 with plating and donor bone (3/28/03)

    [This message has been edited by BDW2 (edited 04-29-2003).]
    __________________
    ACDF C6-7 with plating and donor bone (3/28/03)

     
    Old 04-29-2003, 10:23 AM   #4
    DariusTDog
    Junior Member
     
    Join Date: Apr 2003
    Posts: 30
    DariusTDog HB User
    Post

    V-Neck,

    Thanks for your post. Its good to hear how others are making out. I am a 33 year old active male and had been fighting dull aching pains in my shoulder and neck for 3 years (with associated headaches and muscle spasms). It got to the point that I couldn't play softball or tennis, and I really payed heavily for playing golf and raquetball, but I refused to stop. I think my pains were the results of two major car accidents from 8 and 9 years ago (no pain at the time, of course). Herniated disc at C4-5 was diagnosed after a year and a half of going through the "normal" channels of PT, Chiropractic care and uncounted medications; all to no avail. Luckily for me, it was only one level. I can't imagine having 3 levels done. It sounds like your handling it really well. I went back to work, pretty much full time, after 3 weeks; I wish I had decided to just lay low for 6 weeks. I'm still dealing with muscle spasms around my right shoulder blade that remind me that its not over yet. The toughest thing for me is trying to get sleep. I'm usually exhausted every night, but can't fall asleep until about 6AM after tossing and turning to the point that I'm ready to strangle someone, or give up and take some narcotics just so I can sit still in a sleepless stupor. Lately, I've just resorted to playing XBox from 2AM to 6AM (beat Tiger Woods, that's realistic) or watching movies on cable (caught Wuthering Heights last night on HBO, always wanted to see the film adaptation). How are you making out with painkillers and sleep? What does the neurosurgeon say you will and won't be able to do when your all fused?

    Tone

    ------------------
    ACDF C4-5 w/locking plate and allograft
    3-18-2003
    __________________
    ACDF C4-5 w/locking plate and allograft
    3-18-2003

     
    Old 05-01-2003, 10:58 PM   #5
    V-Neck
    Newbie
     
    Join Date: Apr 2003
    Location: Redwood City, California USA
    Posts: 8
    V-Neck HB User
    Post

    Hi,

    Thank you for commenting on my post.

    Midge, before the surgery, when I asked the doctor if my symptoms would go away, the doctor’s response was that if there was damage to the nerve, the symptoms would stay with me and maybe diminish over time. The symptoms involving my right arm and shoulder are lessening, while the symptoms involving my left arm and shoulder seem more frequent but to a lesser degree. So, it is a mixed bag really but I am hopeful.

    BDW2, I am sorry to hear about your voice. My voice was bad for the first 5 days or so. On day 3 it was so bad that when friends called me on the phone
    they would ask me if they could speak with me, not recognizing me. To me, my voice sounded like I had inhaled Helium. Later, my friends told me that
    my voice sounded like an electronic voice. I think it is back to normal but I still feel like my throat feels tired from speaking, every once in a while. In time your voice will come back too.

    Tone, I think I am lucky that I do not have sleeping problems, at least not to your extent. After the surgery, maybe due to Vicodin I took every night before bed, I slept without a problem. I think I was so out it (and scared to move too much) that I slept in one position all night, on my back. Later, I had the courage to sleep on my side (non-incision side of course). I stopped taking pain pills gradually after about 10 days after the operation. I also stopped taking Valium as well for spasms. I am not sure if I ever got spasms, anyway. I get these twitching either on my shoulder, upper arm or lower arm/wrist/pinky. These twitching are less frequent and less intense since the surgery. The twitching does wake me up sometimes. Lately, as I get better, I find that I am moving around in my sleep. Each time I move with more vigor than usual, I wake up. I sometimes catch myself trying to sneak into face down position and wake up.

    I have one of those cervical pillows (bought it from a Sharper Image store in CA), the kind that forms into your shape. I had bought it before deciding to have the surgery as way of grasping at straws. Since the surgery, I rotated the pillow 180 degrees and have been using the skinnier side to sleep on. If you cannot sleep, I suggest reading maybe even a boring book. It usually does the trick for me. If you have hard time keeping a book up to read like me, this is what you can do: Get a cookbook holder, which is made of one piece of clear plastic material (acrylic?). You open up the page you want, slide the book in, lie on your side, propping the book holder on its side next to you and read away. I bought mine from Barnes and Noble bookstore.

    >> What does the neurosurgeon say you will and won't be able to do when you are all fused?
    I have not asked him that question yet. Yesterday I saw him for the first time since I left the hospital after the surgery (it’s been 5 weeks now). I asked him what can I do for exercise and he said I can walk as much as I want to and I can also use a stationary bike as long as I stay upright. He also said I could lift and move things that are less than 25lbs as long as I do not lift them overhead.


    ------------------
    V-Neck
    ADCF C4-7 with titanium plate, using donor bone
    3/27/03
    __________________
    V-Neck
    ACDF C4-7 with titanium plate, using donor bone
    3/27/03

     
    Closed Thread

    Related Topics
    Thread Thread Starter Board Replies Last Post
    2 month post acdf, MRI report estella3 Spinal Cord Disorders 7 09-13-2010 06:14 AM
    Psa shooting up @ 100% every month binu Cancer: Prostate 21 10-31-2009 05:50 AM
    Post ACDF and having disc problems again wdmoor Spinal Cord Disorders 16 06-04-2006 10:59 AM
    Post op problems?? Haemorrhoidectomy. Please help!! Steveinengland Bowel Disorders 22 09-08-2005 02:48 AM
    1 year, 1 month post L5/S1 discectomy laminectomy back2basics Back Problems 13 08-13-2004 10:43 AM
    Post-IDET Report tennisnut Back Problems 117 04-06-2004 07:08 PM




    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 01:05 PM.





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