✿ Paula ✿

Cervical Fusion tomorrow

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I shared with my Dearest Aunt, the one who tells me she is "ooooold" as she is in her 80's (this cracks me up every time she says this, because she is far from "ooold!" and if she is, she doesn't act it as I can't keep up with her!) 

But get a load of what she thought a cervical Fustion was....
 When I told her I'm having a cervical fusion Friday. Right away she said, "you are too young to have your cervix fused!"  Oh boy, thank goodness she hit the internet and learned it is my neck being fused and not my lady parts. Too Funny!
So friends, after 16 years of a cranky neck, I'm having a 2 level fusion and bone spurs removed.  Suggested 3 month hiatus from work. Gonna love the recliners, pups, annoying cat, walks & word games.  Plus have more time to visit TT.

I feel this pain is defining me. Kindly my husband said it hasn't. But it has consumed my every hour. I do not enjoy cooking anymore, going out with friends. I know pain management has allowed me to work. I'm a SPED EA, our case load is physically taxing. I can't imagine what it might feel like to feel even 50% better. I'm excited. Not afraid of surgery. Dreading the early recovery.

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Paula, you will absolutely be in my thoughts tomorrow...best of luck.  

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Paula,  good luck with everything.  I had C5-C6 fused 7 years ago and had an outstanding outcome.  Although the initial injury that prompted the chronic changes (stenosis and bone spurs) had occurred 15 years earlier, my symptoms were actually very short lived.  I woke up with severe pain and neurological deficits one morning in June.  I spent the summer in a neck brace and on pain Meds and went under the knife by October.  The neurologist gave me two options....medical management, physical therapy and pain control for as long as needed, or surgery.   I had just seen too many friends and family suffer for years with neck and/or back pain and I wasn't about to go through all that so I opted for the surgery.  SO glad I did!  I only ended up taking two weeks off work and I was skiing by January!  My surgeon was a miracle worker.

I hope you have as good of outcome as I did.

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Best of luck, please let us know how things go.

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Hang in there, you. Will be sending good vibes your way!

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Thinking of you Paula! Speedy recovery.

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Checking in to see if Paula has updated us.  Been thinking of you Paula!

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Paula 

prayers and good wishes coming your way. I get the part about chronic pain. I have had pain now since March of 2014 in my right shoulder and scapula. I had one surgery which helped my shoulder a lot. However the brace I had to wear after the shoulder surgery partially dislocated my right thumb. So now I need 2 surgeries, scapula and thumb to try and get my pain under control. 

I think you are making the best decision. It also seems like you have a positive attitude which helps a lot in recovery. Best......

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I returned home last night, after a two night stay. Almost was lucky enough to return home after first night, but needed IV pain control meds day after surgery and clearly those can't come home with me. Once they figured the right oral meds, I was good to go. Night one Nurse Daughter Dana stayed with me, night two my husband stayed. They are both amazing caregivers, as were most of the staff.

 The food menu was impressive. I ordered enough to feed an army which is a giggle, just so my family member would sit and eat with me.  Their pot roast was as tender like home cooked, and Shrimp Scampi quite good. I was teased, because I ordered cheese cake at all THREE meals.  One bite for me and I the rest to share. Honestly, cream of wheat went down best.

Slept in recliner last night. Somewhat more comfortable than the sweaty hospital bed and being woke all the time for vitals and meds.

First thing I have noticed is my left arm isn't hurting nor do I feel numbness and pain in my hand. Hope this isn't a fluke. I care mostly about the neck pain being reduced. I am learning about how important the arm and fingers are a huge indicator of neck issues and being a good candidate for this procedure. I didn't realize how much I was dropping things until my husband shared with the doc how often he hears things hit the floor from downstairs.

Can't believe how much work they did through such a small incision.. Didn't look so chipper after getting home, Nor this morning. All photos were taken after med cocktails. After the hour drive from hospital and then a pharmacy wait, made me bit less tolerant by the time I walked into home sweet home.

BTW, I was told over and over I had tiny arms during vitals, Complementary to a WLS patient, but I pray to bulk up someday.

image.jpeg

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For having just undergone surgery, you're looking great Paula.

Isn't it amazing just what they can do!  I half expected a huge cut in the back of your neck.

Rest up my friend.

P.S.  How long will you have to wear the cervical collar?

Edited by cinwa

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Ok-how is it your hair looks so spectacular after surgery?! Your story about the hospital meals cracked me up! Love it!

Glad you made it through so well, and especially glad to hear about the arm results happening so quickly, because I've been in talks with an ortho and a neuro about the same type of surgery at some point down the road. The ortho doc is convinced my finger reconstruction surgery from the dropped bowl back in March was because of my neck. For now I'm hoping PT will make a difference...

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I am excited to follow your progress. I have big time neck issues as well and really need to do something about it. 

You look great and looks like you had a crazy fun support team. :P

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You look great! Here's to a speedy recovery!

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As far as the hair, it was highly advised I enjoy a shower at the hospital where I could have help. Naughty me did it myself remembering what the PT shared about covering my wound. Exhausting but worth it. 

I still can't believe how good my arm and fingers feel. Seems like it can't be true.  Like I have shared before, my arm and hand weakness were teh least of my concerns. But if the limb can feel so much better, maybe my neck will too. Maybe?

Corrine, not sure how long with the collar. At this point, I'm off the job for 3 months. See surgeon Nov24th.  I think as things progress, I'll have an image done to see if everything is fusing.

For those concerned about surgical answer, I was too. Every pain and family doc including Dr. Google gave false impressions. Talked to live people and they all seemed to know someone who had good luck. I hope that will me me.  Time to sit, as I don't want to get caught over doing it when hubby comes home. I think I have been very careful and took lots of cat naps today.

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So glad to hear from you and that things went well.  Looks like you had quite a support crew! :)

Interesting that you mentioned your limbs.  That's where most of my symptoms were......extreme left shoulder pain and significant weakness in my left hand.  Very little actual neck pain except in certain positions (wearing a neck brace backwards put my head in the most comfortable position)  However, after surgery, i was surprised to discover just how much better my neck felt.  Turns out I actually had quite a bit of pain for years but didn't even recognize it as pain until I didn't have it anymore!

bummer you have to be in a collar.  My surgeon doesn't use them postop.  He wanted me moving and basically doing PT from day one.  The major bonus there was that my neck muscles never atrophied or got stiff and recovery went so much faster.  But like we've already seen with WLS, everyone and every surgeon is different.  BTW, did you have an autograph or use cadaver bone?

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So glad to hear from you and that things went well.  Looks like you had quite a support crew! :)

Interesting that you mentioned your limbs.  That's where most of my symptoms were......extreme left shoulder pain and significant weakness in my left hand.  Very little actual neck pain except in certain positions (wearing a neck brace backwards put my head in the most comfortable position)  However, after surgery, i was surprised to discover just how much better my neck felt.  Turns out I actually had quite a bit of pain for years but didn't even recognize it as pain until I didn't have it anymore!

bummer you have to be in a collar.  My surgeon doesn't use them postop.  He wanted me moving and basically doing PT from day one.  The major bonus there was that my neck muscles never atrophied or got stiff and recovery went so much faster.  But like we've already seen with WLS, everyone and every surgeon is different.  BTW, did you have an autograph or use cadaver bone?

My pain in my neck area radiating into shoulders and arm has sent me ove the edge. I had no know idea how much impacted I was by weakness as all I could think about is my neck.  I'm blown away by how good I feel just having sore arm and numb fingers feel better. Perhaps I wiill also have lots of neck relief. This is my wish.  My husband and I were moments away from having me retire from work. To think, I may not be stuck in a recliner living this way is amazing. Only day three, but still hopeful.

My surgeon's DME gal gave me a tutorial and shared I can take the collar off while in recliner. It isn't' a cast, just a reminder and help if I were to be jolted. The real cast are the parts they put inside until I fuse. After fusion takes place even the spacers and screws will be irrelevant.  

I was shocked the right side of my neck was medically messed up, yet all my pain was on the left. Must be compensation.

My doc also spoke of atrophy and PT after. I think I am active enough to get enough movement in the day, so I won't be too weak. Yet to be honest, I'm already weak after years of guarding my pain.

No cadiverr. I think metal spacers and my marrow injected into area to aide in fustion

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So glad to hear from you and that things went well.  Looks like you had quite a support crew! :)

Interesting that you mentioned your limbs.  That's where most of my symptoms were......extreme left shoulder pain and significant weakness in my left hand.  Very little actual neck pain except in certain positions (wearing a neck brace backwards put my head in the most comfortable position)  However, after surgery, i was surprised to discover just how much better my neck felt.  Turns out I actually had quite a bit of pain for years but didn't even recognize it as pain until I didn't have it anymore!

bummer you have to be in a collar.  My surgeon doesn't use them postop.  He wanted me moving and basically doing PT from day one.  The major bonus there was that my neck muscles never atrophied or got stiff and recovery went so much faster.  But like we've already seen with WLS, everyone and every surgeon is different.  BTW, did you have an autograph or use cadaver bone?

I'm so glad you shared. I agree, at some point it is hard to decipher what is pain and and what is normal. So when my arm pain disappeared, I just couldn't believe it.  I "think" cleaning up my neck spurs and regaining disk space should relieve so much pain. I am trying not to get my hopes up, but so far, so good. I don't remember feeling this way]  EVER! My kids are in their mid 20's and I feel terribly sad to know the only mom they have known has been a downer. 

The gal who distributed my collar and bone stimulator, said I could take it off somethimes while in my recliner. The collar is more of a reminder. I do need reminding, as I don't sit still very long. 

From what I recall, no cadaver bone. Some metal and my own bone and marrow.

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Tried to lay in bed tonight. Going to stick with recliner another night or two. I feel I have been moving plenty, yet I have a ridiculous amount of fluid around my hip, waist line and thighs. Gross. One thing having a GBP taught me was to to be proactive  and start days ahead of surgery taking miralax and colace. Wow, am I glad I chose that therapy!  Or not......

What is kind of funny is not only did I start my own BM therapy, but you should have seen the look on my face and daughter's when the nurse brought me miralax,colace and senekot.  Apparently they are proactive too.  Oh boy, what did I get myself into? HYDRATION

On a happy note, look what my son sent me.

image.jpeg

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Hey all, had my first-Post op appointment today. It was good. My favorite part was filling out the normally tedious pre-appt. paper. You know the one with the sketch of the body and you have to put all the areas of pain and what kind of pain. I filled out one spot on my neck. ONE! No arm, no fingers or the million other areas. I honestly think it is surgical pain I have lingering. It's not the neck radiating, numb, spasming, yucky other kind. I'm still a little afraid this is a fluke. If it isn't a fluke and if I'm not numb from surgery and a bit of daily pain meds, this is going to be  a better way of living. Much like WLS was a ticket to a better way of living.

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Glad to hear you are feeling better, Paula. one of my brothers went through the fusion process and his wasn't as successful, but at least it was a lessening of the pain.

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Glad to hear you are feeling better, Paula. one of my brothers went through the fusion process and his wasn't as successful, but at least it was a lessening of the pain.

Thank you for your well wishes .  I'm sorry your brother didn't have fusion success. I have heard some do not fuse well or worsens some of their issues. Does your brother have another opportunity?

So far, so good after 2 weeks. Prior to surgery, my medication regime helped, but did not cut through the chonic pain.  At this point, I feel nothing close to what I have for 16 years. I'm still in disbelief 2 hours of surgery and expertise of my surgeon along with God's watchful soul could possibly have made such drastic changes.  Right now I think it is just surgical discomfort and working out the extra fluids from my tissues.

image.jpeg

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Little brother had several spine operations and is on disability, he had a lung removed a couple of years ago, and will be going on oxygen soon. He's got a few more issues too, but at least he isn't drinking anymore.

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I love your fur blanket. Quite luxurious!!!!

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Each day I'm getting stronger and out from under the fur. Finding I'm needing less help in the pain med area. Even my doc was impressed. I still go back and forth sleeping in bed and the recliner, but at least I'm getting a few more hours each night. This morning I even vacuumed the downstairs. Promise it is my 8# shark and took the movements very carefully.

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