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Saturday, August 18, 2012

12 Weeks: My titanium neck rocks the beach and saves the day

After postponing a trip in July, I finally got to the beach this summer.  The 8 hour drive was a breeze, no neck problems at all.  Well, that's if you don't count the crick I got in my neck from watching the bikes bounce around on the bike rack the whole way ;p.

We started off in Georgia for 5 days at The King and Prince on St. Simon's Island.  My first test was the daily biking around the island. No problems at all and it was awesome to be able to enjoy the area without pain or limitation.  We last went to Florida in March before the fusion and it was frustrating, to say the least. I couldnt play tennis, jog or kayak. I think to prove how well I was doing, I made sure to fit all of that in. Yep, I'm that girl.

We kayaked in the ocean for an hour and it felt great. I've not done very much at all with my arms so this was a good test for me.  Paddling felt great and my arm strength was as good as ever, as far as I can tell.  There was a huge sandbar at the beach so we decided to swim to it at low tide. I had no trouble swimming across, it was about 25 yards. Although both kids had boogie boards, the youngest started to struggle. He was with my husband who is not much of a swimmer, unfortunately.  So after I got across I looked back and saw him just kind of floating with the current pulling him away from us.

I ran out, dove back in and swam with my head above water straight out to him. I kept talking to him to reassure him I was going to get him.  Once I got there, I grabbed his board but realized the currents were much stronger there.  Even with both of us kicking holding the board, we made no headway.  I took off my water shoes, rested them on the board and side-stroke kicked as hard as I could towing him behind me. After about 5 minutes, I was able to get us back to shore.  He was pretty upset - a mixture of scared and embarrassed. After he settled down, I gave him and my husband a lecture about water safety.

Next up, South Carolina! I got the chance to practice my lying around in the sand skills.  Happily, they and my tanning superpowers are unaffected! Going to give golf a try...maybe titanium neck plate + idyllic location will finally give me some game.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Gold medal in finishing up old projects - fusion shmusion!

I've been watching the olympics obsessively which has definitely encouraged me to push ahead with finishing all those projects my neck pain had prevented.  I finally got back to completing the chore of painting the third floor room and the delightully awkwardly-angled knee wall.  This was one of the last things I was working on before the pain got too severe.  So today, almost a year later, I finally got back to it and am pleased to report I had no trouble finishing up including all the tedious cutting in along the edge.  I was a little tense on the 7-foot ladder in the stairwell but the neck was no impediment at all. 

I just came back from a short trip for work and the luggage handling, laptop lugging, etc. were also no problem.  I do miss the fancy cervical pillow when I'm on the road but its just uncomfortable to sleep, not painful.  Still unable to touch my chin to my chest but that seems only to matter if you're folding sheets by yourself ;)  I do still notice a little loss of sensation under my jawline, maybe from the neck brace.  I tried running and unfortunately as soon as I went a short distance, I noticed the numbness return to my thumb and first finger.  I guess the nerves have still not settled down all the way so I'll stick with walking and cycling.

We are getting ready to go on vacation to the beach in a couple of weeks so I'm looking forward to finally have a vacation this summer.  The kids haven't been to the beach yet because of the surgery so fingers crossed no storms thwart our plans!  Continuing to sunscreen the scar daily because it definitely gets red and angry if I'm hot or in the sun.  It has not faded as much as I'd hoped but it is not raised at all.  The incision itself is darkened and pretty noticeable.  My naturally dark skin is in this instance has maybe contributed to the scarring but it doesn't really bother me.  Scarves anyone?

What 1 item helped you the most after 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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Medical Details If You Must

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.