I just had the same procedure done on Jan 11, 2010. My fusions were from c-2 thru T-1, and yes I could not find anyone else who had so many levels. I had mine done by a nuerosurgeon and I had gotten 4 opinions that ranged from new york to south florida. I am a 45 year old male. Yes, it is a scarey procedure and be prepared for a rough first week. I am finding the most difficulty is the sleepless nites and I have been very bored as I am a very active person. Get yourself plenty of movies and books to keep yourself busy. It all started with a stiff neck and about a month later I was in surgery due to the servere spinal cord compression. Be patient and things will improve daily. It is to early for me to tell you anything else as I am still in the recovery process. Good Luck...
I just had the same procedure done on Jan 11, 2010. My fusions were from c-2 thru T-1, and yes I could not find anyone else who had so many levels. I had mine done by a nuerosurgeon and I had gotten 4 opinions that ranged from new york to south florida. I am a 45 year old male. Yes, it is a scarey procedure and be prepared for a rough first week. I am finding the most difficulty is the sleepless nites and I have been very bored as I am a very active person. Get yourself plenty of movies and books to keep yourself busy. It all started with a stiff neck and about a month later I was in surgery due to the servere spinal cord compression. Be patient and things will improve daily. It is to early for me to tell you anything else as I am still in the recovery process. Good Luck...[/QUOTE]
Wow. Thanks for writing, especially after having surgery so recently. At this point, I hope that you are getting a little better and a little less bored. I'm a bit older, 59, female, and probably less active, but I do work full time, walk, drive, travel, etc.. I'm already storing up books and movies.
Can I ask you, did you have a quick onset of symptoms? Where did you finally have your surgery? When you went to different places to get opinions, did everyone recommend the same thing?
I also have not had much neck pain, and so when I went to see the doctor about the numbness in my hands I was dumbfounded by the results of the MRI and the idea of surgery. When they started to examine me I had all these little random things that I had never attributed to spinal cord damage. I've kinda felt like a deer in the headlights these last few weeks. It feels like I went in to pay a parking ticket and got a 30 year sentence.
I really hope that you are feeling better and would love to hear about your progress, if you feel up to it.
That is a great place for a 3rd opinion! I am wondering if you might consider discussing this next item with the surgeon on adding that T1.
I feel my thoracic problems came on after my cervical fusions. I knew I was destined for the lumbar to go bad soon, but previously my thoracic wasn't showing the signs of DDD. I had immediately felt the static position of my spine after the cervical surgeries, even though it didn't impair my ability to turn head etc, I did feel the new alignment. I feel the static position in the cervical put more pressure on my thoracic and helped speed up the problems I am having there. I would recommend you really push on why this level (T1) needs to be included and discuss the pros/cons of excluding it from the surgery! You will have a lot of levels, maybe by keeping T1 free it will help the pressure off the thoracic???
I saw your post to tl1446 and I wanted to add that I never had neck pain other than from too much computer here and there. I woke up one day in extreme arm/shoulder blade chest pain and that is when I found out about my problems. Originally they screened me for heart a week before they figured it out. I too ignored some warning signs I had for the year prior - because I never thought I had anything wrong with me! From symptom onset for first surgery and second surgery I waited about 6 months. I actually wish I had done it immediately because I have perm nerve damage from letting the impingements continue to rub while I waited - now they send pain signals 24/7 because the cells are all mixed up - I have some arm muscle function loss but nothing that impairs my ability. There are so many muscles/nerves the others pick up the slack.
You will blow this up way more than it will be, I don't want to minimize it, but we all make these things way bigger than they end up being. With yours though I think you should be prepared for a longer recovery time, maybe a little more pain early on. If lucky it will go fast, but at least you will be prepared if you take more weeks than normal! Plus all the friends you make will be here cheering you on and ready to share hints.
Generally I have not met too many people who are made worse by their surgeries. Usually it is at least the same or better than it was. Sometimes symptoms don't all go away, the key is to stop the immediate damage that is being done!
Good luck and I will be praying and wishing for a speedy recovery for you.
Hello Neckpatient, Once again, thanks for your quick and thoughtful reply. I am concerned about all the issues you bring up. I have seen 2 ortho spine surgeons. Both said laminectomy. #1 said fuse c-3 to c-7. #2 said fuse C-3 to T-1. #2's Reason: because the thoractic level is already rigid, leaving the one level unfused between (C7-T1)will create a lot of pressure on it and hasten it's deterioration. Made sense at the time. However, it seems to me that Im going to be essentially fused from C-3 right through the thoractic area, given the rigidity of that area. I wonder if there are any unknown problems in my thoractic area. They never took a picture of that. And, also, I wonder about the pressure on the C2-3 levels above that big ol' fusion.
I would like to hear the details of your story/case, but I will look back through your old posts so you don't have to repeat yourself.
Have you ever considered artificial disc replacement, single or multi-level (yes, I know multi-level is not approved...but I see on line that some people do it ine Germany, etc)?
Regarding the recovery, don't worry, you won't scare me. I'm already scared :-).
Again, thanks for your time and your kind thoughtful words.
You don't need to go reading my old posts I can pretty much summarize it pretty simply here - I type faster than it will take you to go read. Artifical replacement isn't for me, I have too many levels in all parts of the spine bad - I am waiting on some much bigger science advancement - I hope it comes soon! I was generally a very active, healthy person who worked a high stress, wonderful career and raised a family.
I had a surgery in 2004 from C4-6 and that was a very bad impingements at the nerve roots and very small cord indent. I didn't have a choice as it was bad. I had a choice between lamni surgery and the acdf. I chose acdf because it sounded like a speedy recovery. The boards were not too developed back then and patients were only begining to share their experiences. I rushed back to work. I was 100% great for about 9 months and then boom it hit again. They took out the old fusion, cleaned it all and extended it to include C7 but we left the T1 junction free, and we also left C2-3 free. THose levels need it also but not as bad and they are probably not the ones making my symptoms so we decided to leave them alone unless my cord gets indented there. I have a congenitally narrow spinal canal so it compounds my problems. Well over the next few years my discs have degenerated in lots of parts of my spine and bulge out and herniate - causing lots of bone spur ridges that are pressing on the thecal sac and nerve roots in all the areas. The thoracic was first after my cervical problems, then finally a really bad central herniation in my lumbar which I have been avoiding surgery, but am now seriously considering going back and doing it because it is finally putting me back down in bed lots of days with bad back pain and bi-lateral sciatica. Along the way I had Thoracic Outlet Syndrome from guarding my arms from pain, problems with bladder retention from the lumbar problem, and also curiously developed unknown effusions around heart and lungs for no reason that they can find. I have lots of nerve pain - I do cycles of gabapentin - can't stay on it long stretches I get goofy. Something really stupid along the way - I also stopped processing vitamin D correctly and that shot my pain levels through the roof. Finally they have been treating me with high doses and now I have only normal pain which for me hangs around 5's even treated, but on daily basis if I am too active can easily get to 7s and even and 8 here and there.
I have a large 2 level hemangioma but it doesn't worry them - and honestly not one of the doctors can really explain how they know if it is really causing symptoms or not because I have such widespread problems it gets complicated. I go to pain management, use fentanyl patch and other meds, I get regular cycles of epidurals and stopped my career and watch my activities. I have been to lots of surgeons, even Mayo and haven't found my golden ticket yet.
I am not really a rush to surgery advocate, but if there is a reasonable plan to at least stop the immediate damage being done I try to encourage people to do the surgery, but keep in mind pain symptoms might not completely go away. The good news is the pain usually does go down a few levels, and when you are talking difference between 8s and 9s to 5s that is a big difference. Also talking about neurological problems not getting worse - then it is a good thing to do surgery.
I have spent the last 6 years researching and studying trying to become a layman expert on the spine and the surgeries. Going as far as reading the surgical books because I keep hoping I might ask the right question for myself that will open the lock. I share what I have learned and if it helps good, and if it doesn't help someone then that's ok too - at least I put it out there.
Please do keep posting here, my next cervical surgery will be the lami because I have grown bone ridges in the acdf that is going to been to be fixed in the next 5-7 years and I would really like to have someone hang on here and post their laminectomy experience for me and others in the future.
I had a fusion in june 2008 from c2 -t2, although my problems of spinal chord damage and thinning were only in the cervical spine. two of the three doctors i saw including the one who did the surgery beleived the fusion needed to be extended into the thoracic area to protect the neck and spine from further injury.
the operation was ten hours and i exercised like a mad woman for months to make sure i was in tip top shape to cope with that amount of aneasthetic. because of the amount of levels fused my doctor took two bone grafts from one of my hips, which caused more discomfort after than the neck brace, which was on for seven weeks.
recovery was difficult i have mild spasticity which makes everything more complicated but the work paid off. my surgeon a spinal reconstructive surgeon, said to me the day he took off my brace, "you need to work hard for this, about 5 -6 hours of exercise a day to get yourself back on track" I have to say he was right and today I walk better than before and my neck feels much better than it did preop. I thought I had no pain but now I realise I did because I have absolutely no tension in my neck now.
I hope you find the answer you are looking for, for me it arrived when i found a surgeon that I had confidence in who demonstrated to me that s/he could provide some solutions. I am glad I had the operation and I hope this post has been of some help to you.
In relation to your concerns about further surgery I know how you feel, I had a laminectomy in 2000 which in some ways contributed to the 2008 surgery needing to happen, but as corny as it sounds you can't control life and the future - you can only make your decisions on the information you have now.
I am 37 I have a friend my age who is fused everywhere I'm not and she has had no revisions since the original operation at 16. I have an aunt who 30 years ago had three to four levels fused in her back and to date no one has had to touch her. So one spine operation doesnt mean there will necessarily be more.....
All my best to you,
cotton one ..
thanks for asking... however i have had such a hard recovery, i am still in pain, not getting any sleep and feel like i was not prepared for this... i feel i should have been directed to a pain mgt doctor much quicker.. i just got referred about two weeks ago..i have been presribed over twenty different types of meds in the past ten weeks.. my lowere extremeties are extremely weak.. i have short term memory loss, and a buch of other complications due to the meds... i am border line depressed and very very frustrated at this point... i am not even sure if i would have done the surgery and took my chances but all 4 doctors said i would wind up in a wheel chair if i did not have it... so here i am today feeling only about 10% better and still have sleepness nites due to pain and stifness..i can only hope my pain mgt dr gets me on track ... i also just started pt but that doesn't seem to help at this point ...i am trying to remain optomistic but have to tell you ...i wasn't prepared for this both physically and mentally....hope your doing well ....sorry it took so long but i haven't been reading this at all..
Nothing to apologize for. I'm so sorry to hear how rough it has been and continues to be for you. It is my understanding that this is a hard surgery to recover from. I trust that you are taking it very slowly, not pushing yourself. It is much harder if you have to go back to work, or if you expect too much of yourself. Can I ask, where is most of your pain? In the surgery area, or in the areas that were effected by the compression? Has anyone explained to you what you might be feeling, or why? If it is caused by your nerves regenerating, then perhaps there is a time frame for when that will end? If the pain management doc can help you manage the pain, then you might be able to make quicker progress. It is exhausting to be in pain, to not get a good night's sleep because of pain, etc.
I have yet to have my surgery! In the course of setting it up, long story short, my new surgeon took an MRI of my thoracic spine just to see if there were problems, and found a tumor. They think it is possibly benign, but it is on the spinal cord. My symptoms are probably still coming from my neck, but now they want to take the tumor out first. So, in about a week I'll be having surgery, but still not fixing the neck. Oye!
I understand what you are saying about not being prepared, but I have to tell you, being prepared still only gets you so far. Don't push yourself too much, and remember to include whatever progress you have made in your thinking--give yourself lots of pats on the back for coming this far. I wish you the best of luck in your recovery. Please keep me posted.
I am sorry to hear about your recovery being so difficult. I only had a C4 to
C7 fusion, but I had been going to a pain clinic for about a year prior to the surgery. I do not think I would have survived the last 11 months since my surgery without him. The surgeon was no help in the pain management department.
Like you, I was told by 3 doctors that without this fusion I had less than a year or I would be in a wheelchair.
I hope you have a much better outcome than I had. Needless to say my surgery was less than successful and I am now facing 2 more surgeries to repair my neck.
They want to do another anterior and remove everything they did, clean up and remove the huge bone spur that has grown directly in to my thecal sac and re-fuse from C3 to C7. The next day they want to perform a posterior C3 to
C7 de-compression and put rods and screws through the back as well.
I live in constant pain, although the pain clinic does everything they can to help. I have never made it back to work and am now in the process of filing for disability.
Listen to your body, if something does not feel right, than it probably isn't. I had a few months of relief after the first surgery and that was it. Like you, I was not prepared either physically or emotionally for this surgery and often wonder if I made the right choice to begin with. I am no better off now, in fact worse than I was a year ago.
Most good pain clinics are run by Neurologists, they will listen and if you feel something has not worked or you cannot control the pain they will move you in the right direction. Trust them, I do, much more than any surgeon I have ever listened to.
I wish you well and would be interested to hear back on how the pain clinic works out for you.
Hi Cotton....I've been lurking on this thread and wondering how you made out with the thoracic tumor removal? I am fused from C3 to T1 and had it done at New England Baptist in Boston. It is a long recovery but after 3 years, I feel pretty good.
Let us know how you are.
I just got your email. You are right our stories are similar. Please excuse the long reply but I remember when I was going through what you are now I would have liked to have known someone who had been there. I only discovered healthboards after my 2008 operation.
I was fused in one go from the back (posterior) in 2008. I have a congentially narrow spinal canal, and like you had a laminectomy in 2000 because they found a bump, which turned out to be clogged a tangled veins, that they had to get rid off because it was dangerous to everything. 11 months later they found my spine had destablised from the laminectomy so they kept an eye on it and in 2007 they found that there was more to the story, a bulging disc at C6 that was flattening my chord. Hence what my diligent doctors agreed was going to be a little fusion turned into a big one.
In answer to your questions, no I don't drive but this is not because of my surgery its because I also was born with spasticity so I have been trying to learn to drive but not with great success, because of the spasticity. My spinal reconstuctive surgeon would LOVE IT if I could get my licence.
I am doing well since the operation! My doctor says my walking is better now than before the operation. I can see this objectively too because there are things I can do now like walk on a treadmill unaided that I could never do before the surgery. For me I don't think there is anything I do worse than before the operation, I am really lucky in this - as you know every one is different :-).
Recovery was pretty darn hard work, and scary, but my surgeon made it clear to me that to know that I've got the best results that I could get I needed to work 6 -8 hours a day on myself doing exercises and rehab. I had to take six months off work and it made me poor but it gave me the time to commit to myself. I think its normal to expect after a spinal fusion, particularly when you are wrapped up in a brace and also if you have bone taken from your hip, that its going to be a challenge and painful to get yourself walking again, my problems on this front were exacerbated by the spasticity, but even if you didnt have it I think you need to consider taking some good time off from your employer. The pain from the bone graft is much greater than from neck in my experience.
I am not sure what sort of pain you are experiencing but I was unaware of any pain before the operation because I had got so used to it. My doctors before the operation said that the operation would release all the muscle tension in my neck as a result of the energy I was expending on having to hold my head up. I thought what are they talking about??? Once the brace came off I knew, as my head and neck felt much lighter - I wasnt having to do all the work. I still have minor tingling and sometimes arm pain but its intermittent and I find that if I exercise - even go for walk it usually diminishes.
Being fused from C2 gives you 50% rotation - I can still cross roads and function normally, though I tend to turn my whole torso these days, its just easier. I cant see my toes though and I have to bend from the waist to acheive this!
I can imagine how concerned you are balancing all the pros and cons, the risks there are so many things to think about. I went through months of it - trying to find the right surgeon wondering how it was going to go. My surgeon was concerned too that I might have fused naturally at C2 -C3 because of the destabilisation - they decided to put my in traction for 4 days beforehand to see if they could straighten the spine that way, it did to some extent and took time off the operation. I dont know if this is an option or appropriate for you. My surgery lasted ten hours.
In the end, and before I had the operation, I was glad I made the decision to do it, because I was so exhausted by the worrying and I knew that if I didnt make a decision to take the control I could at the time, I was leaving myself to the inevitability of being in a wheelchair. I remember my surgeon the night before the surgery said to me "Gooseberry trust me I have seen this time and time again, and in ten years you will be in a wheelchair if we dont try and intervene".
I can tell you from the moment I woke up a couple of days after the operation (they kept me sedated) and I knew I could wriggle my fingers and toes I was soooo releived - it was done.
I can tell you once I got to rehab (i had rehab as an inpatient and outpatient for six months) I was scared but still releived I had made the decision and it was done. I did exactely as my doctor said and committed to hours of exercise a day, and to this day I still try and walk and move my neck every day to keep myself from stiffening. By the way after your brace comes off this includes moving your neck because it helps prevent stiffness etc. I find things like pretend boxing helps loosen up my stiff shoulders.
And now? I work four days a week because through all the time off I learnt to live off less money. I do fatigue more easily but I am still glad I had the operation sooner rather than later, because it allowed me to get on with my life, and once I had found a surgeon I felt confident with who had done the procedure before and provided me with proof of his experience I thought the recovery, which was in the end extremely hard work, would be better done at a younger age than at an older age.
The surgery will be a life changing experience - hopefully and I pray for the better.
I wish you all the health fortune in the world.
Take care GB.:angel:
Hi, Just had the same proceedure done 0n 8 March 2010 by a neurosurgeon. First week is rough, but it gets better as time passes. Hardest part is not being able to be active during the recovery period. Like another poster said...get plenty of books and movies. The sleep part is rough on me...I can't sleep in my regular bed so I'm regulated to my "Lazy Boy" recliner...where I get a few hours of sleep a night. Just went to the Dr and it looks like everything is healing up fine.....we'll see...at least the pain and numbness is gone in my arms and fingers.
I'm looking forward to following everyone's progress as we go through this together.
First I want to thank everyone who replied to my thread. Thanks for sharing your experiences and I wish all of you well and hope that for those of you still suffering that things improve quickly.
To answer Saucer's Q about my experience, the surgery went well. I had it done on the 30th and it's now the 18th, so I'm going on three weeks recovery.
After the surgery I couldn't keep any food down in the beginning, but that eventually stopped. I didn't really feel nauseated on an ongoing basis, I would just instantly feel so right after eating, vomit, and then the feeling of nausea went away.
I was up and walking within 18 hours of the surgery (while in the hospital).
I've been taking a muscle relaxant and a high dosage of percocet (pain killer) since then along with over the counter laxatives. As such I've experienced little pain, but I've been incredibly tired/lethargic/depressed. Some days I just stay in bed for most of the day.
For this reason, I've been lately cutting back on the pain killers/muscle relaxants and the pain has been minimal -- mostly a mild soreness in my neck and shoulder(s).
I've had no shooting pain in my left arm/shoulder/forearm/hand like I experienced before surgery so that's good. However my index finger is still very numb (though a little better). The thumb and middle finger seem slightly less numb. The surgeon said the index finger (being the worst in numbness) said this would take the longest to fully recover, but he assured me it eventually would.
I'm wearing this Orthofix cervical-stim (bone growth stimulator) device around my neck for four hours per day and will apparently have to do this for the next six months.
So anyways, to sum it all up, the pain is minimal. When I'm off the meds my range of motion has been slightly impacted (like I feel some soreness if I look down at my feet, or if I try and spin my head around to see something behind me).
Mostly, these days I'm just tired all the time and depressed, but the surgery appears to have gone well.
Thanks again everyone. I wish all of you well with what you are experiencing.
I feel your pain. I have emergency surgery scheduled for tomorrow on c6-c7 disc that is compressing my cord. I am very nervous about the operation. If anything goes wrong, I could be paralyzed or even worse. I am in Florida and I just learned about a new insurance product, Complication Insurance, which would cover someone if they had a catastrophic outcome from the surgery. I went to buy a policy but they don't sell in Florida yet. If you are worried about the surgery, you should google Complication Insurance and see if they are selling policies in your state.
My disc is so bad that they want to do neurological monitoring during the procedure, which is why they have to wait till tomorrow to do it. I am very scared but just want my functionality back. Good luck to you.[/QUOTE]
I'm sorry to hear about your condition. Hopefully, you've found a very good doctor whom you trust and everything will go well.
My thoughts and prayers go out to you for a successful surgery and quick recovery.
Hi. After my three surgeries that resulted in fusion from C3 - 7, I experienced tingling or pins and needles and numbness and aching. It was explained that this was a result of swelling that pinched the nerves. The worst is over and the recovery can take many months. Try to watch your movements so as to not exacerbate the swelling process. And follow all your docs orders. Sending good thoughts.
I would suggest from past experience that you do not go to an Orthopedic for anything that has to do with your Spine. I wish you well, and hope you have a speedy recovery.
[QUOTE=Jenmilady;4676002]If you have not yet had any surgery I saw your post and thought I would reply.
I have had a 5 level cervical fusion. It was performed by a Neurosurgeon. It went well and I feel a lot better. It is a hard surgery as far as healing. But I think it was worth it.[/QUOTE]
My husband is going to have it in 2 weeks. We realize everyone is different but about how long was the recovery and what might he expect. (Be brutally honest please--he does not even go on blogs so I will "cushion" anything you tell me--as his caretaker I want to know as much about what MIGHT happen as possible. Thank you soooo much!
Wishing you continued success in your road to recovery! Have a fantastic day and keep smiling :-)
[QUOTE=kelownabc;4742430]I'm very careful of what I do at this point as my NS re-emphasised the importance of not over doing it!! We have a chocolate lab puppy who I can't even pick up as she weighs 19 pounds!! I see him at the 3 month point and I will have many questions pertaining to exercise!!
The back of my neck is the most painful and swallowing continues to be a challenge. I'm really hoping once I pass the 2 month point this will improve. I'm 7 weeks post op on Wednesday and improving everyday! Sleeping is also ALOT better for me!
I never had a swallowing problem but then they only fused C3-C4 anterior.
All the other was done posterior. I noticed on another board you are talking about bad pain in your shoulders, are you still having this? I do 6 months later. I hate to run back to doctor for every ache and pain but going to if this doesnt stop.
I wish you luck in your recovery.
Penny suggested I write to you, but she said the name is Saucer. In any event, two years ago I had cervical fusion C2-T2, with the neurosurgeon going in from the back. It was a crap shoot, of course. If I didn't have the surgery, I risked all sorts of problems, including paralysis. The surgery also posed threats, but by and large, the surgery was successful. By three months post-surgery I was doing very well.
I must admit, I've been having some upper-back pain recently and must see what that's all about. But, as you know, you can only do what you think is best at the time and can't foresee (or control) the future.
I hope you're doing well and would like to help, if I can.
I am having C2 to T1 posterior decompression (via laminectomy) with instrumentation (DePuy Mountaineer--rods and screws) in 3 weeks.
I was not too concerned until I started reading the posts. My neurosurgeon has said 4 days hospitalization, 3 month recovery with a Philly brace, no driving. He just said it was "painful."
How did you sleep? How long is the severe pain? Should I get a walker or a cane? Any tips on coping?
Hi G-ma Nanny,
I slept in a reclining chair for about three weeks, then I was able to return to the bed. I was on Oxycontin for about three weeks and then switched to Ibuprophen. I never had problems walking, had no need for a walker or cane. I do remember visiting a friend in the hospital also at three weeks--without difficulty. If your recovery is like mine, I'd prepare to take it VERY easy for the first three weeks. Then things get MUCH better.
I'd certainly do it again,
I'm so glad my experience can help you a little.
Yes, I could eat normally when I came home, though I think I had little appetite. The pain killers had me sleeping a lot and, if I remember right, suppressed appetite.
If memory serves I didn't sleep on my side until after the three month mark. The muscles in my neck were traumatized by the surgery, during which they get pulled and pushed around. The collar should help. You'll find your range of motion limited at first because the neck muscles need to recover.
What does taking it very easy mean? You're going to have major surgery and that, plus the anasthaesia, saps your energy for a couple to three weeks. Your body will tell you what you can and cannot do. Play it by ear. It differs for different people.
I think you have an advantage in being in good shape before the surgery and not having a couch potato mentality. I would suggest that you not push yourself the first weeks after the surgery.
What did I do in a day? I read a lot. I worked part-time at home at an editing job.
I could raise and move my arms after surgery. I could hold a book, though my hands continued to give me problems. I use a kindle, which is lighter than a book and has no sharp edges.
I too have osteopenia, and there seemed to be no problem in anchoring things.
I think the question is not why you'll have a collar, but why my neurosurgeon didn't have me wear one.
My pre-surgery symptoms: pain in arms and hands and numbness, dropping things, weaving when I walked. The main reason for the surgery was that an area of spinal cord injury was expanding. The prognosis was loss of control over this and that, possible paralysis.
Don't worry. Get a few good books for the recovery. Movies on home tv.
Relax. When is your surgery?
Dear Andrea, aka "My Hero-"
I was not surprised to read that you edit, as evidenced by your writing. I had you figured for an English teacher, a 20-year-old one at that!
My surgery is scheduled for June 6, or sooner, if there is a cancellation.
You mentioned recovery of your hands. Did you get full recovery from all of your symptoms? My neuro said,"30% chance of getting better (walking, fine motor, sensory return of hands and legs), 30% of getting worse, 30% staying same." And after that, he threw in THE RISKS--death or paralysis. So now you can understand how hearing your account has been so helpful to me! I was really down about it.
On a pain scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the worst pain you have ever had, how would you describe your pain from right after the surgery (wake-up), and then through-out the next three weeks, while being on Oxycontin? Knowing your description may help me to not overreact, because as an old RN who has seen many mistakes, I will not think the worse--like a screw has broken loose, etc.