Search This Blog

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Cervical Fusion - 3 months post op

So I've settled in to my new normal and I've got no complaints.  Well, mostly none.  I had my last post-operative appointment which was massively anti-climactic - no Xrays, no exam, just a lovely chat.  No news is apparently good news meaning as long as I continue to be pain-free, that's good. 

Nothing much has changed in my symptoms which remain just a smidgeon of numbness in my left thumb.  I am also a little stiff in my neck when I wake up in the morning.  Before the fusion, I used to be able to flex my neck and get a crack out of it to relieve the stiffness - not so much now.  I've also got some occasional itching at the incision and sometimes a painful twinge there too.  (Scar pic here).

I had my first long solo drive Friday for about 5 hours.  It was not delightful and I felt pretty sore afterwards.  I think it was from being in a fixed position for so long more so than from holding the wheel.  Being fairly tense because of the merciless tailgating on the interstate surely didn't help.  I worry a bit about getting rear-ended but I sure do pity the fool who runs into the lawyer who's just recovered from neck surgery!  First cross-country plane trip this week - not really relishing 8 hrs of travel plus sketchy hotel mattress.  I am now that chick who travels with her special pillow ;p

Unfortunately, I'm still not able to run - Doc reminded me it wasn't recommended but of course I tried again, same result :(  So me and the elliptical have come to terms - the terms being I crank up the elevation and essentially run on it.  I still haven't been able to get back to swimming but am determined to get in there and see how it works out.

Despite continuing to tell people my scar is from a bar fight, my fellow fusion patients usually figure me out.  After we play "who's got the gnarliest Xray", we swap tales. (BTW who keeps their Xrays on their iPhone??).  Based on what I've heard, lots of others have not had as easy a recovery and 3 weeks back to work is pretty good.  After a fairly rough year, my display of dedication by going back to work early may pay off if I get the promotion I've applied for...fingers crossed!


Mike Carrington said...

Thanks for your blog about your ecovery. I am acheduled to have a 2 level ACDF in 2 weeks. WHat ewre your symptoms leading up to surgery? Are you able to drive without issues? look up toward the moon\stars without issues? look straight or nearly straight down? The ROM has me concerned and what did your doc say about future change of surgery due to domino effect?

R Palmer said...

Hello, glad you found this. Ive been neglecting my 12 month post surgery status update. i had pretty sudden onset of significant left shoulder, arm and hand pain with loss of use of the hand (I'm left-handed). Medication and PT did not help and I was unable to manage the pain after about 6 months of trying. My ROM is pretty good, I only notice it when rotating to look over my shoulder worse to the right than left. I can look up to the sky nearly fully normal and lack just a bit looking down - my chin doesnt quite want to touch my chest. Future surgery chances he wouldn't predict for me - he did say its hard to say whether fusion increases likelihood of adjacent discs or its just a continuation of the degeneration which led to the situation in the first place. Hope this helps? I can say no regrets, I'd do it again knowing what I know now about recovery because I was not able to live with the pain.

Best of luck with yours. Let me know how you are doing after.

Unknown said...

I had surgery on Feb.13 and I am 2 months post op. Still in pain. 4 levels done. Numbness down arms and hands. Start physical therapy after May 9th. Scar is very long.

Glad to hear the success stories. This gives me hope.

Renee Black said...

I had surgery on Feb.13 and I am 2 months post op. Still in pain. 4 levels done. Numbness down arms and hands. Start physical therapy after May 9th. Scar is very long.

Glad to hear the success stories. This gives me hope.

Sarah said...

R- I was 43, mother of 2 boys, and fused 3 levels in 2010. I am laughing now, reading this. Are we clones? The same attitude and walking and stories. Read some of this to my hubby and he was laughing at the close similarities.
I was doing so awesome, hiking high peaks, kayaking, skiing and then new symptoms occurred. Yeah. I have “that” kind of a neck.
So I am scheduled again for a new level. Both experienced and freaked out again. Reading your blog has made me smile. Most of all I cannot wait to take a walk again as it’s been 5 years getting worse, but 4 months of pain with any walking. I am eagerly awaiting my post op day 4 when I can round the block. And my XC skiing this winter again!!
I was hiking up mountains, albeit small, on post op day 90 after he told me I was fused. I am counting on a similar recovery. I think I was walking about 25-30 miles per day in recovery.
Mine is not a typical scenario, so I don’t want to freak anyone out. But here I am.
I love my surgeon, and he is so skilled that I have the utmost confidence. I should mention I am a physician too.
Again, thanks for the great blog, and helping me laugh as I prep to do it again.

Post a Comment

What 1 item helped you the most after surgery?

Your Host

My photo
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?

Total Pageviews

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.