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Sunday, July 1, 2012

Weaning off the Collar? Week 5 after Neck Surgery

Yeah, so my doctor told me to wear the collar continuously until I see him next but apparently I know better.  Don't tell on me. It started with just taking it off during the shower but now I sometimes don't put it back on for a while after the shower.  Yesterday I went to an outdoor wedding (yes, I know) and left it off for about 3 hours.  It is mostly because its 105 degrees and so humid I feel like I'm suffocating. But, its also just more and more uncomfortable.  When we got to the prayers, I was not really able to bow my head much, partly because it felt tight but mostly because I was afraid to try. 

Now that I'm out of the collar a bit, I've also noticed the skin around my neck at my shouders where the collar sits looks sort of stretch-marky.  I can't  tell if its dry or some sort of reaction to the constant pressure of the collar.  Other than this self-absorbed detail, all of my other symptoms remain mercifully absent.  No neck, arm or shoulder pain and the little bit of residual numbness and tingling in my left hand that I had after surgery seems to be (don't want to jinx it) gone. 

I've been having trouble sleeping again, possibly due to my continued struggle with the brace.  I switched to the Arc4Life neck pillow which is shaped for your head and neck.  That  seems to give me more room for the brace, whether I'm sleeping on my back or side.  Despite that, I've had to resort to sleep aids to get through the night.  Mostly its just aching in my shoulder blades and mid back which I'm attributing to having gone back to work and the fact that I'm rotating at the waist while wearing the collar. 

I've continued to keep up the walking despite the fact that I find it immensely boring.  What has helped is a super-fast, walking-pace friendly playlist (My Ping/iTunes Playlist)  I've also been using Nike+ to track my walks and incent myself to go farther each time:  "This is Lance Armstrong.  Congratulations, that was your longest workout yet!"  For the chart lovers, you can admire my progress here: New Chart - Walks Since Surgery


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I'm 43-years old, married mother of two boys. I work full-time but the daunting prospect of 6-ish weeks of recovery has led me here. How much TV can one person watch?

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Two-level anterior cervical discectomy and fusion scheduled for May 29th. Herniated discs at C4-5 and C5-6 indenting the cord with significant kyphosis.

I am not a medical professional. The information contained in this blog is not intended to be nor is it medical advice. Nothing contained herein should be considered a substitute for consultation with a qualified health professional.