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Spinal Cord Disorders Message Board

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I thought I would put down some more thoughts on how I feel, since I am one who asked for some positive responders before my surgery.

This is day six since my surgery C5-6 and C6-7 ACDF.

I have waited for almost 20 years to get to this point. I first discovered a problem in 1984 when I woke up in a hotel room and thought I was having a heart attack. I had pain in the front of my chest on the left side, a pain down my left shoulder blade and tingling in my left arm and hand. I called an ambulance.

It took another 5 years before a diagnosis was even close to what was causing this pain. Another 5 years before my first MRI. After the MRI I knew what was causing the pain and was able to manage it without surgery for a number of years. The last Year and a half to 2 years have been bad. Over time the pain became more of a constant problem, and really made it difficult to do the things I like to quality of life had declined significantly.

I have a long story of tests and doctors and issues that led up to my surgery. I think there are some insurance issues, scammers and other problems related to "need" that can take time to work out. Some day I might get into all of that.

My surgery went really well. I was under for a little less than two hours and awake within 3 hours. I noticed right away, that I had pain where they went in, but none in my symptom areas. Now, I know that drugs can mask this, but, I also have a herniated disk at L5-S1 that i could feel when I woke up. The pain in my neck was stronger than the pain in my low back before surgery, so this is a good sign. They also shoot steroids into the areas they work on, so that could mask the pain (although steroids never worked for me at all).

I had the issue with swallowing, that I think is common. Mine was a little worse in that I was taking my meds crushed mixed with applesauce, and still couldn't get them down. Xrays showed my throat was about 1/4 normal size. The docs gave me some steroids and I fought it out through the night (dry throat...couldn't drink). My throat now is very close to normal. I still need to be careful not to take too large of a gulp though.

The incision is smaller than I expected. It sticks out a little, which should be expected. Swelling and the plate I guess. It doesn't hurt much at all.

Over all my pain is minimal. I was on morphine the first night, with a pain button where you could give yourself more if you needed to. I used it once, and then stopped. I went to oral pain meds the next moring (surgery ended 3:00 PM). I'm now on Vicodin 5MG every 6 hours or so. While I'm writing this I just realized it had been 7 1/2 hours since I took any. That tells me my pain is going away.

At this point the only thing really annoying is the collar. I am starting to get used to it though. I have never been able to sleep on my back, so it's particularly difficult for me. So far I am somewhat sleep deprived. I got about 5 hours last night at two different times.

I will keep you posted on how I'm doing.

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