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Sunday, June 23, 2013

12 months post surgery - Status Update

Somehow this year got past me without a timely update which must speak well for having been able to get on with things not letting my neck hold me back.  I've met so many who have had this same surgery in the past 12 months but alas, not many are blogging or posting on message boards to share success or positive outcomes.

In case prior posts were equivocal, let me say again plainly - I could not be happier with how the surgery went, my recovery and return to normal activity.  The constant nagging ache in my neck and shoulders is gone and I have regained the grip strength and function in my left arm which I had lost.  My neck around the incision has almost fully regained sensation after being numb for about 10 months.

I have had two instances where some similar pain returned for a few hours - both times I was doing activity I knew would probably cause problems (repetetive lifting heavy boxes and then driving for long distances and high intensity exercise classes).  So, I have to say there are simply some things I can do but should and do not because they can bring back some arm pain.  I have stopped running altogether, do not lift more than 25 pounds or so and in general avoid high impact movements like trampolines, roller coasters, etc.

I'm only 45 so the prospect of needing future surgery is something I wonder about but frankly, I don't worry about it and just try to be positive about what I can do to stay healthy.  I've signed up for my first yoga class this week which is something I never thought I'd do, having spent most of my life engaged in sports that involved running and pounding.  Om?


Mel said...

I can't thank you enough for your blog. I have just about been pushed over the edge by some of the message boards I have been reading. I'm 48 and pretty active so I am hoping that my recovery is similar to yours.
I have always prided myself on being brave but my little mini-freak outs were taking a toll on me and I am sure my husband was not digging my anxiety level.
The thought of six weeks with a collar is not making me very happy but after reading your blog I know that I will get through it. Thank you again for your story and humor; I am sure that I will be a frequent visitor after surgery day (August 26).

Micheal Cooley said...

I googled "ACDF surgery trampoline" and found this blog. Why did I search for such a peculiar string of words? Well, I'm a man child and jumped on a trampoline with the neighbor hood kids yesterday about 2 years after my ACDF and now my neck is a little sore, nothing to bad though. I'm 33 and can still do front and back flips on a trampoline! I won't be doing it again.

I wish I'd have found something like this blog during my recovery to gauge my healing. For the first 3 months after my surgery I thought I'd made a terrible mistake. Now I'm neck pain free and have an almost full range of motion. No more weak grip, tripping on my own feet, or pain pills!

Micheal Cooley said...

I guess I should note I had it done in August of 2011.

R Palmer said...

Hi Mel and Mike!
I'm so glad you found this and that it was helpful to you both, albeit at different times in your journey. I always wondered why the few other blogs I found tapered off with posts around a year. Well now I know that most people feel have all but put this behind them by now. Mel, good luck with your recovery and feel free to @ me on twitter at @Neckiswack.

Mike, I'm strangely comforted by our similar foolishness. Took my boys to Jumpology and tried to recreate my moves from when I was a diver. Duh! I wish it was just the neck holding me back...

Mel said...

I survived the surgery and had my 2 week post op on the 11th. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be; the hardest part is the boredom and waiting for someone to take me out of the house. And of course, the neck brace. My husband took the first week off and my daughter has become my personal driver. I am getting the feeling that she is a little over it.
I still have some discomfort being at the computer or reading for any significant amount of time but it has been improving as long as I don't push myself or do something stupid.
According to my doctor, as long as I can stay off the pain meds I will be cleared to drive on the 26th.
Thank you again for your blog. Just knowing some of what to expect made everything so much easier. Going on walks as you did has been quite the sanity saver and I am happy to report that I have yet to step in poop. Now that I have made that statement, it will probably happen tomorrow. Also, thanks for the invite to follow you on Twitter...done!

Edward Agnoli said...

HI...I just came across your blog even though your last post was a year ago. I have been advised that I need ACDF at the same levels you had. I still haven't decided for sure but reading your blog has been extremely helpful and somewhat comforting so I wanted to say thank you!

R Palmer said...

Hi Ed,
Glad you found it - I actually am due to post a 2 years since surgery check-in. Short version: Still no regrets. Hope you get some relief soon.

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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.