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What worked for me

Like I'm sure many of you are doing, I did a ton of reading and research before surgery.  I had lots of ideas gleaned from the message boards, sites and journal articles about what I would need and how I would adjust to recovery.  What I thought was necessary and what actually was helpful were two different things.  Below is a reverse-chronological list of the items which I really did need:

Day 1 post surgery:
  1. Someone to stay with you during initial recovery - You never know how you will emerge from anesthesia.  Even if you come out of it lucid and feeling fine, you still will want to have a friend or family member there to make sure you are getting what you need.  I wasn't really able to articulate my needs to the nurses for even simple things like water.  More important, they can look out for things you wouldn't expect like both my IVs coming out of the vein so the morphine, etc. was just filling up my wrists instead of getting into the vein. 
  2. Food and drink options - Although I ended up mostly drinking water because of the nausea, what I thought I'd eat (yoghurt, fruit) did not work out and I couldn't open my mouth big enough to take bites of normal food. 
Day 2:
  1. Still need a companion - My first day home was a blur, as I was still coming out from the anesthesia. 
    • Keep a log of meds:  Taking all of the medications that were prescribed was too much for me but I wasn't lucid enough to realize that.  All of the pills were taken at different intervals and I think I took them too frequently/not often enough because I wasn't writing them down at first.
    • Food and mobility assistance:  I couldn't procure food for myself or walk around safely due to being dizzy.  Again, I wasn't thinking clearly and made poor decisions like standing up too quickly to go to the bathroom. 
  2. Trash can - I thought I had avoided this but nausea can still hit 2-3 days after so have this nearby just in case. 
  3. Comfortable clothes, cotton and layered - Although I wasn't feverish or infected, I had alternating feelings of being hot and chilled.  Button up pajamas worked best.
  4. Small pillow to prop behind neck/head - Managing with the neck brace while on painkillers is harder than you think.  I had an idea I'd be wanting to hold my head up myself so as not to lose strength in my neck but I was fatigued and really needed the head and neck support.
  5. Large cup for water (straw optional) - Water is key to avoiding constipation but the straw seemed to make me gassier so as soon as I could I just used the cup. 
Day 3:

  1. Companion - especially for the shower.  If you are allowed to shower on the third day, it is tricky dealing with wet hair (especially if it is long) and the neck brace for the first time.
  2. Small towel to dry hair - while you are drying and reapplying the neck brace.  I actually bought head-wrap towels designed just for this purpose because my hair is so long.
  3. Wide or V-neck shirts - After a shower, I was feeling more human and wanted to put on regular clothes but the necks need to be large enough for the neck brace. 
  4. Something mindless to do/read/watch - Although I was out for short walks by now, I was just starting to feel like I could concentrate on something other than simply staring at the tv.  Mindless magazines did the trick. 
Day 4:
  1. Walking Companion - Even though I felt much more stable, I still occasionally would mis-judge a step, curb or uneven walkway. 
  2. Makeshift bib - As much as I am ashamed to admit it, a lot of food is getting spilled on my neck brace.  To avoid having to change the pads more than necessary, tuck a soft towel under your chin.  You'll be itching already under the collar, no need to add crumbs to the mix. 
Day 7:
  1. Second neck brace - The one they gave me at the hospital is simply too big.  It overlaps my ears and extends way too high up the back of my neck.  I finally got the one I ordered from Amazon (see the Links page here and it has made all the difference.  As dorky as this is, I use the hospital one for walking and showering.  After the shower, I take off the old, wet one, dry my neck and put on the Vista and then wash out the pads on the dirty one.  It just makes showering and changing afterwards a whole lot easier.  NOTE: The doctor said the problem with the Vista is that people fiddle with the adjustment to lower the height and it provides insufficient support.  My experience is that if its too comfortable, its probably not on properly
  2. Stool Softener - Sorry to say but I am still having trouble in this "department".  Even at 1 1/2 Vicodin a day,  I'm still sluggish.  So, keep taking those with lots of water until things are right.
Day 11:
  1. Frequent Walks - Follow your doctor's discharge instructions but walk as much as you can.  Not only is good for increasing blood flow and promoting healing, but it is helping my mental status by giving me something concrete to do.  A little Vitamin D from being in the sun never hurts either but of course sunscreen!
  2. Vary your resting position - Rather than sitting fixedly in one place all day, I have been alternating between the recliner, standing at a high table and sitting in a straight-backed chair.  When I sit still for too long, even reclined and fully supported, I can feel my upper back muscles tighten.  With no way to stretch anything at this point, moving around helps avoid stiffness which is my primary symptom. 
2 weeks
  1. Out of the recliner & ditch the wedge pillow - After my first post-op visit, my doctor encouraged me to sleep in any way I felt comfortable.  Last night I slept without anything other than a normal pillow with neck support and it felt great.  I actually switched to sleeping on my side and woke up with no additional pain.
  2. Glue from the dressings still an issue?  My doc gave me this tip - used some nail polish to remove the lingering gooey adhesive, being careful not to rub too hard or across the incision itself.  Ahhh, much better!  Important to keep at this because, I could only remove a little at a time.  One of my friends ended up with scars from adhesive he did not fully remove. 
3 weeks:
  1. Starting back to sedentary work - I got the all clear to start work half days today.  I'm working from home so I can work in any position I need including in the recliner.  So far so good but I am definitely taking it easy.  Work 1 hour, walk around.  Work a second hour, take a break. 
  2. Feeling better is no excuse to overdo - I know not every surgeon requires one but if yours does like mine, keep wearing it.  Even with the brace (which my Doctor said allowed about 5% movement), I find myself doing things like slouching over the sink so as not to spit toothpaste down my chin.  When I tried taking the brace off, I invariably torque my neck a little. 
  3. Scar Care - Ever since the incision is healed and adhesive off, just this week, I've been using Mederma scar cream with SPF 3 times a day.  Not sure if it really helps since I think so much about scars is genetic but it can't hurt and for sure the SPF is key.  If I take the brace off to go to dinner, I wear a scarf to cover it from the sun as well. 
6 weeks: or after your Doctor gives you the all-clear
  1. Consult with professionals before resuming sports - I'm no hardcore athlete but I swim, bike and [used to] run.  Before I got back on my road bike, I went to see a cycling had a specialist do a bike fitting for me.  He made a few small changes which allowed me to be more upright which greatly eased the strain on my neck.
  2. Keep up the stretching - Even though I feel great, I'm still doing gentle neck stretches because I'm sedentary at work.  I'm using exercises suggested by my therapist but also here:  Treat Your Own Neck
Walking Tips:  I've been walking like crazy and these are the things that have helped me keep at it:
  1. Learn to scan ahead to avoid falling - After slipping down the stairs a week ago, I am much more careful to look where I place my feet.  We've had so many storms recently that there are sticks and debris everywhere.  Beware the sideways stick aka the banana peel of the natural world!  I can't tell you how many of those I've stepped on and nearly fallen.
  2. Don't pump your arms - Aside from looking like a dorky speedwalker from the '80s, bending my arms at the elbow and pumping while walking increased strain on my neck.  I found myself shrugging more as if to support the collar.  If I focused on relaxing my shoulders and just let my arms hang by my sides the natural walking motion did not create additional stress.  
Neck Brace Tips:  Now that I'm nearly out of it (I hope!), I've finally mastered it but here is what I learned:
  1. Insist on a proper-fitting one - The hospital gave me an adult regular brace and I was too loopy to know it didn't fit.  Make sure you or your more lucid caregiver get someone to give you instructions on using the collar and how to ensure a good fit.  If, like me, you find that once you were off the medication, the neck brace was really uncomfortable, have your doctor get you another one.
  2. Don't neglect the skin underneath - I took my Doctor's instructions literally and never took it off for quite a while.  I was so skittish I was barely dry from the shower before I swapped the wet pads for the dry.  Now, I am noticing that the skin at the base of my neck/shoulders has broken down and I am peeling from the constant contact. I have started using lotion every day, but know that it will require you to wash the pads more frequently.


Anjanette Watson said...

an excellent resource, thanks for compiling and sharing with the rest of us with wacked necks. my surgery, identical to yours, even down to the specific cervical location was performed 13 days ago. it has been a much smoother healing period as a result of your blg. wide neck, button front shirts and pjs, straws and an extra neck brace were all quality of life recommendations. i also picked up an item from the skymall magazine that has assisted in recovery, called the ipad adjustable floor stand, works perfectly with my nexus tablet and prevents bad neck angles. good luck to anyone going through the same thing and be sure to read all parts of this very informative blog.

R Palmer said...

Hi Anj! So glad to hear you found me and it helped. Would love to hear any more things you find helpful. Hope your recovery goes smoothly.

Pov' Conne said...

Thank you or sharing. I needed to know about someone else 's experience to know if I was acting hypochondriac or if the pain and disiness is normal. I had mine 3 days ago and was discharged from the hospital with very little information and felt a bit neglected. I am now quite reassured :)

R Palmer said...

Great to hear, Pov. It really is not as bad as I thought it would be. I hope your recovery is smooth and that your fusion resolves your symptoms. I am 99.9% back to normal and wish that for you too.

Reddbean said...

Having a single layer in a week and just found your blog. Thanks to you it has relieved some of my anxieties.

R Palmer said...

Best of luck, Redbean! One level should mean you regain more of your original ROM. Still glad every day I had it done.

maidmarian4 said...

So, my husband reads this as I won't need any help after day 4. Is that what you experienced? He said, "So, you will be fine after day 4, that's what I thought." Hmm... I told him I am not sure that is what you meant. I have 4 kids and am getting a 2 level fusion c2/3, c3/4.

R Palmer said...

Hi Marian,
After 4 days I still DID need someone with me, but I was just feeling well enough they did not need to be by my side 24-hrs a day. I was wonky from the anesthesia for 4 days but needed someone with me that whole first week. After that I had figured out how to shower, etc. but still needed help at times. It will depend on how you feel - everyone responds differently of course. My husband took a week off for me and my neighbors were on call after that. Good luck!

maidmarian4 said...

How was the pain afterwards with non-tylenol meds? My husband is worried I'll be in pain.
Thanks for your responses! :)

R Palmer said...

It was not bad at all. I was off the prescriptions after a week and hardly took anything after that. I was worried about this too but it was mostly stiffness and discomfort rather than pain. My skin was itchy and rashy from the brace and surgical adhesive mostly.

Laura Kinmont said...

Hello, I have really enjoyed your Blog. I just had a three level fusion done on June 1st on C4-7. I am feeling well, still need rest times but walking daily and almost up to 2 miles. I think the most difficult aspect is being home all the time, after working as a teacher. Any suggestions for staying sane and not overdoing? I have been told light housework, and no laundry or dishes. This sounds lovely until they start taking over!

Ann Miller said...

I am having my first one-level ACDF in two days and this information sounds more helpful than anything else I've read! Thanks!

Wheelchair India said...

Hey, very nice site. I came across this on Google, and I am stoked that I did. I will definitely be coming back here more often. Wish I could add to the conversation and bring a bit more to the table, but am just taking in as much info as I can at the moment. Thanks for sharing.
Cervical Collar With Chin

Keep Posting:)

R Palmer said...

Hi India!
Glad you found it - I've been pretty slack in posting but the continued good news is no changes and I'm still doing well. I hope your story has the same outcome.

lillinda68 said...

Hi all,

I want to give my experience for those who are considering ACDF surgery. I was experiencing pain in neck burning in back of shoulder blades and pain radiating down my arms for quite some-time. I had muscle spasm frequently. I decided to get the surgery on feb 3 2016. I am feeling better every day. My recover is a slow one but I am recovering. I just want to express my experience to everyone. I did research to find out what to expect, what I will need after and believe me, I was reading for days. Everyone seemed to have a hard time day 2 post op. I did not feel any pain after surgery. I was very emotional because I was left in recovery for 9 hours and by the time they transferred me to my room my family had left. I could not turn my head to find button for nurse or phone to call anyone. So that moment I felt so alone. The nurse came in and comforted me. I explained to her the situation and told her that I am not used to asking for help. I realized then I needed it. So day one I did not feel pain I was just very nauseous from anesthesia. I did vomit a few times so I could not take oral pain meds. Everything had to be administered through IV. Day 2 I ate pancakes. Omg they tasted so good. I was fine after that. I set up a recliner in my room which I did not sleep in. I set up every thing I could possibly need in my room within arms reach. I did not need any of this. I was able to move about and sleep in my own bed. I did rig up something to help me get up out of bed and it was wonderful. I used exercise resistant band that has 2 handles (one at each end). I put one at the bottom of bed under leg of bed and kept the other at my side. When I wanted to get up I'd grab the handle and slowly pull myself up. It was so nice to sleep in bed. After a few days pain started coming back and muscle spasm. Your neck is being raised to put new discs in so muscles take time to adjust. It felt like a lump in my throat for like a week and then went away. It's been 2 months since surgery and I am starting physical therapy to strengthen my upper muscles then hope to return to work. I thought it was going to be a lot worse after looking at videos and reading experiences. I am happy I did it. I did not feel the incision once and it feels great. My surgeon did a clean job. If anyone has any questions please feel free to ask. I know I was a nervous wreck. Good luck to all!

JD said...

Hi guys, just found this page as today, 9 days post op, for a 2 level acdf, i have just had my bandage removed. It looks horrible,, like I have been burned, and I have no sensatiom from chin to incision, feels like its permanently numb, and I dont even feel my razor against my chin when i shave. I am so worried about the scarring and the loss of feeling. I have lots of upper body muscular pain, and weakness in my arm, which was one of the reasins I had this done. I really dont want to regret this surgery but I feel like I have not benefitted from it,I know its early days,but I guess the only people whi can empathise are those who have also had it done. I am certainly not ready to return to work, and worry my doctor will not sign me off long enough to recover, as on the face of it, it does look like I am coping ok, but I feel exhausted after doing very little, even eating, have random shooting pain and arm spasms and weakness are all too common at mo. I hope you guys can help, namely with my concerns over wound and numbness recovery, if this is normal and what I should do to aid my recovery before returning to work. I have seen some people say they returned after 3 weeks, but surely that isnt enough time for your neck to recover and fusion to strengthen??...I know if I return, my employer will have little or no sympathy with whether I fit to be there or not. Pls help

R Palmer said...

Hi JD! I remember all too well how you feel. I was not prepared for the post-surgical numbness and it was definitely stressing me out right afterwards. I had just the same issues you are describing (except for the shaving part :-p ) and that skin from my chin to incision and actually below, down to my clavicle, felt really weird. It took a little while for the sensation to start to come back and I also noticed my neck muscles and tendons were sluggish to respond if I tried to move them after I was out of the neck brace. I'll be honest, even right now this many years out, that skin feels the tiniest bit desensitized but nothing at all like it was right afterwards.

The incision itself was pretty gnarly I thought too - mine was pretty angry and red under the bandage. Did you see my 2 week photo? I thought I was going to be horribly scarred but it really did improve once the swelling went down. The end of the incision where they had the drainage tube was also kind of open and took longer to close up despite the stitches.

You didn't say if you're in a brace now? Although I had immediate relief of the shooting arm pain, my neck was still afterwards probably both from not moving and from how I was holding myself awkwardly under the brace. I was shrugging my shoulders as if to hold my head up in the brace like a dope - once I relaxed a bit that improved. I think I thought my neck was going to collapse or something if I wasn't careful.

I did start back at work part-time after 3 weeks but I have a pretty sedentary job. When I first went back I was still rocking the neck brace (which I wore for 6 weeks) and only working 4-5 hours a day for the first couple of weeks. Even though he released me to work then, my doctor explained the fusion takes a long time to occur but that the plate stabilizes you enough you can resume activity as soon as you feel ready. He was pretty relaxed about it actually and said it really was up to me as to how soon I felt I could handle it. I really just relaxed those 3 weeks, took it easy, walked as much as possible - only partly because you can't drive in the brace, and let my body recover. Once I got off the medication, I felt a LOT better.

So sorry you're struggling. Keep us posted on how you're doing?

JD said...

Hi, thank you for your quick reply, Im always nervous about writing about myself online. Im not in a brace, just came home after 2 night stay in hospital, with only the surgical bandage and a few exercises to do each day. Have no follow up PT arranged and to be honest, I find most information online, despite the NHS in england advising against doing so, but what can you if they leave you to go without much info. My scarring at day 10 looks similar to yours at week 1/2. Its quite fleshy which concerns me, I jut hope it goes down like yours. As I said I am very self conscious, so a bad scar it like a nightmare for me. Sad really, is blokes are supposed to be proud of our scars eh?
I find after a nights sleep I wake up in agony for about 2 hours,possibly due to my neck being in same position all night. Its not until lunch time I feel able to do much. I couldnt handle thought of going back to work like this after 3 weeks, I just hope my doctor understands. My fear being I go back, overdo it then have to go off ill again, meaning another episode of sickness and possible disciplinary. Working in banking, there is very little sympathy for illness.
I wonder did you experience a lot of muscle tension and spasm aftet surgery? I feel unable to raise my neck to a straight/upright position, a combination of fear and it generally feels awkward, like it wont go back far enough, so this causes issues having a shower or reaching up for things.
I also have a lot of weakness in my right arm, it feels like I have a dead arm in the morning when I wake,is this normal?
Anyway, sorry to go on, hopefully its just me being silly

R Palmer said...

Hi JD,
No need to apologize - I remember feeling pretty stressed about all these same things (which is why I made this little blog)!

I actually fretted quite a bit about the sleeping arrangements and slept in a chair for a few days, then moved to the bed using a big wedge pillow so I wasn't lying flat. That made me more comfortable and less concerned about torquing my neck from flopping around while sleeping. I wonder if you tried a few different pillows? I know I went through quite a few until I found my favorite which I still use actually. I was a belly sleeper before this and now sleep almost always on my back which seems to work best. I actually never thought I'd be able to do it at first but it's all good now.

Having a dead arm in the morning I didn't experience but actually had that problem before the surgery. I thought it was due to my old, dense mattress so I switched to a memory foam mattress and that issue went away completely. I think it was a combination of the mattress and sleeping on my arm which caused it to be asleep in the morning.

I didn't really have muscle spasms like you're describing but since I was in a stiff cervical collar I wasn't moving it really at all for 6 weeks. I was really careful rotating or flexing it for quite a while because the range of motion felt pretty wonky, not painful just odd.

Are you walking as much as possible? I really credit that with my early return to work. I was very conscious of my posture and made sure to relax my shoulders and swing my arms normally. I felt pretty weak and out of shape afterwards even though it was only a short hospital stay like yours. Then when I went back to work, I worked from noon until the end of the day which made sure I didn't spend too long staring fixedly at the computer screen. I work in insurance so lots of typing, talking on the phone, the usual. One other thing that did help there was I got a contraption to hold my monitors to allow me to stand or sit at my desk and a wireless headset so I could pace, walk or sit as I felt the need. I still use all of that today actually.

It sounds like your scar is still swollen and I'm sure it will improve. I used sunscreen, scar cream and covered it pretty consistently when in the sun - maybe that helped or maybe it just made me feel better to be doing something about it! I have since met a few others who also had this surgery and my scar is actually one of the worst. Many others you can barely even see where it was done so if you're ok with how mine turned out, don't worry. I just tell people it was a bar fight ;)

I suspect you'll be loads better in a week or so.

All the best,

Reine Rooney said...

Hi, I just had 2 level ACDF April 21st. Recovery was a little rough but unfortunately i am back at work half days already. I felt different pain during first week off from work than pre surgery pain more spasming in my shoulder blades but neck and arm felt good. The minute i sat at my computer I felt like i did prior to surgery pain in neck and dead arm. So not sure what is going on. I see doctor tomorrow for post op. I have not seen my scar yet as the steri strip is still on. Although the magic marker marks all over my neck was horrible to look at. i found icing all around my neck has helped with the swelling of the incision site. i am just hoping working is not going to undo what the surgery corrected.

Unknown said...

I had 3 levels done on March 29,2016, sleeping for the two week was a challenge. However I go back for another level surgery on 09/20/16..

Wheelchair India said...

Hey, very nice site. I came across this on Google, and I am stoked that I did. I will definitely be coming back here more often. Wish I could add to the conversation and bring a bit more to the table, but am just taking in as much info as I can at the moment. Thanks for sharing.
Vissco Cervical Collar without Chin Regular

Keep Posting:)

Angela Shoe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
KadaA said...

New year ACDF was not on my resolution.In fact I did not make any resolutions until now.Try to stay positive and strong. I am coming up on 4 weeks post op, surgery Jan 3, 2017. I got a laptop table, for my new laptop, I will not sit at a computer unless necessary because my shoulders start feeling very stiff. I am still in shock mode, have some good and bad days. Pain is controlled, lots of pillows, showering is ok I put a shower chair in and non skid mat just in case.Oh and doing my hair has it challenges, I used to flip my head upside down to blowdry and now Ive invested in hair mouse, root liifter etc... as I have to dry my hair by combing it forward. I went on a youtube site to find products for a haircut and style treatments for a short bob. I take my collar off throughout the day while sitting, I am walking once a day, change positions, watching Netflix, but got to get up and move around or other body parts and muscles start aching.I cannot stand this collar but still need it. Writing and reading post is therapy when anxiety sets in. Gotta stay positive.

Unknown said...

Thank you so very much for this blog...and the fact that it is still going. I am having multi-layer ACDF in April and of course am scouring the internet for info. Have read a lot about the mechanics, but this type of information that you have here is so VERY relevant, VERY important, VERY comforting...Thanks to all who have contributed.

R Palmer said...

Hello Unknown!
I'm so glad you found it. That's exactly why I created it. There were far too many horror stories out there already with bad results. There are lots of us still out there going strong so don't despair. I'm still doing great this many years out. Keep us posted and good luck!

Jamie Hall said...

It is so refreshing to read all of this, have read so many negative comments about this surgery on other sites. I am on day 7 post surgery. Single level fusion c5c6. I feel pretty good. Each day has been different as far as level of pain and location. I was told these are positive signs of healing. I am glad to read that I'm not weird in thinking that if I take my collar off, my neck could snap lol. When it's off it feels so weak and I get a lot of nervy twinges. I wasn't sure of how long I will have to wear it, because it really seems to vary a lot from Dr to Dr. Yesterday I found out I have to keep it on for at least 4 weeks. This is a little longer than I hoped,but am trying to stay positive about it. I definitely don't want to screw this up. I am 38 and have been in pain for 10 years. I was so grateful to find my neurosurgeon...he gave me hope. I have tried everything over the years, physical therapy, injections etc...and nothing worked. I saw a neurosurgeon 2 years ago that said it wasn't surgical. Always get a second opinion because the new neurosurgeon told me if I had seen him 2 years ago he could have done a disc replacement instead of fusion. While I believe I was meant to have the surgery now with this amazing Dr. I still believe in 2nd opinions and finding the right Dr. I did my research on the surgeons in my area and found this one. He is young,up to date, studied at great schools and his work history is incredible. He had a 4.9 rating out of 5. Which is really good considering what I saw from other Dr's in the area. His confidence made me confident in my decision. He said that many people wait too long to have is risky as most surgeries are, but the earlier you intervene the better your outcome. I have family members who have similar issues and refuse to have surgery out of fear...I guess I had more fear of living in pain any longer. I also have 2 children ages 4 and 8. I want to be better for them as well. There has been so much i wasn't able to do with them and I am soooo looking forward to healing completely and being silly with my babes. Chronic pain has such a vicious cycle, it's not just pain, it's depression, it's fatigue, it's not wanting to participate, it's hard on your loved ones too. I would not change my decision for anything...I know I'm in pain right now but to me it's's my body fighting to get me back to normal. It's funny to me how it dragged me down before surgery and now it uplifting in a way. I mean I'm totally grateful for the pain meds but the pain isn't getting me down. The power of positivity I believe is huge in the outcome. So to any of you questioning having this done or questioning how you feel during recovery...remember that you are having/or had this done to be a better you. So you have to do your part. Having a good support team around you is helpful. Finding positive blogs like this is great too, there are some very negative blogs/ forums out there that would scare anyone away from having this can't pay attention to's almost like setting yourself up for failure. The Internet is definitely filled with more negative than positive on this subject, but in reality this surgery is quite successful. I guess my point of all of this rambling is to hopefully help someone be less scared and let people know that the Dr isn't the only one that has role in this surgery and it's outcome. I appreciate the advice shared here, it will definitely help me in my recovery. Anyone have any tips or tricks to wearing this collar.(I have an aspen) Also was wondering if anyone with a single level fusion had it done with out the plate and screws. My Dr used something newer where there are 2 anchor screws attached to the disc spacer itself, so no need for the plate. I had never heard of this before and didn't quite get to ask the Dr enough about it. Thanks for listening...I know message is long a sporadic but it's kind of what I am feeling at the moment.

R Palmer said...

Hi Jamie!
It sounds like you waited a lot longer than I did - you must have been tougher than me. I couldn't handle the pain for more than a few months before I went to the surgeon. At almost 2 weeks out now I bet you're feeling a lot more mobile but it sounds like you had the same issues I did with the neck collar. I was pretty frustrated with it because others I knew who had the same surgery didn't have to wear one at all, perhaps a difference in physician recommendation and/or procedure. I ended up buying a new collar and an extra set of pads. That way if they got dirty or wet in the shower, etc. I could wash them and change them often. I had to wear mine for 6 weeks so I think you're getting a shorter sentence than me ;)

I hope you're able to get out and walk around as much as possible because that definitely kept me sane. It must be hard with young ones - mine were older when I had surgery, almost teens so that was a bit easier for me.

Keep us posted how you're doing! I'm almost exactly 5 years out of surgery and still feel great. Stay positive.

Tracy said...

So glad I found this blog.
My husband had a C4-5, C6-7 ACDF on 25th April. He had a two night stay in hospital but now has to wear the brace for 3 months!!
He is a self employed builder and had prepared ourselves for 6 weeks but not 3 months.
He is already at his wits end with the brace and just with the discomfort of trying to get comfortable to sleep. He is now off the Oralmorph but still on enough painkillers to knock a horse out.

We got an extra set of brace pads so it's a case of wash one, wear one. We have got into a routine with showering already but sleep is still a problem.

The difficulty here is how to keep this wriggle bum still for long enough to heal properly.


Unknown said...

Getting a 3 level ACDF next Wednesday after trying non-invasive alternatives for nearly 4 years and doing fair until pain in right middle/upper traps and radiculopathy in right arm/arm hand began to affect function. Being retired from the Physical Therapy field,I know what lies before me. I have performed self-hypnosis to greatly minimize pain,make the act of healing SEEM like 1/4 the actual time, and ease any anxiety. I have used hypnosis many times in my 67 years and it has been of INVALUABLE use. It CERTAINLY beats having to be on potentially addicting OPIOIDS for an extended period. Best of healing to all. Geo

Geo said...

Getting a 3 level ACDF next Wednesday after trying non-invasive alternatives for nearly 4 years and doing fair until pain in right middle/upper traps and radiculopathy in right arm/arm hand began to affect function. Being retired from the Physical Therapy field,I know what lies before me. I have performed self-hypnosis to greatly minimize pain,make the act of healing SEEM like 1/4 the actual time, and ease any anxiety. I have used hypnosis many times in my 67 years and it has been of INVALUABLE use. It CERTAINLY beats having to be on potentially addicting OPIOIDS for an extended period. Best of healing to all. Geo

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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.