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Spinal Cord Disorders Message Board

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Re: After ACDF c5-7
Feb 13, 2007
While I realize everyone recovers at a different speed, some faster and some slower, the amount of activity you describe over the past six weeks is just mind-boggling. Air travel, driving, shopping, attending classes, even just sleeping in an unfamiliar bed - I honestly can't imagine how you've done it.

REST is a huge part of the healing process and it doesn't sound as though you've been getting much. It's great that you've felt up to doing stuff, but it really is important that you do everything in moderation for a while. Small doses - do a little bit for a little while, rest, repeat as tolerated.

The anxiety, depression, "guilt" - I think everyone here knows what you're talking about. It is nearly impossible to impress on someone who hasn't had the surgery the tremendous physical and emotion toll it takes on you. As well meaning as friends and family might be, all they see is a little scar on your neck and probably [I]do [/I]think, "Geez, what's the big deal?" Well, YOU know what a big deal it is, so don't let the assumptions or judgements of others decide your action or lack thereof.

I did a LOT of hand-wringing over how I thought friends and family perceived me after the surgery. But I finally just got stubborn and decided I was going to do what was right for me regardless of what anyone else thought. I'm not saying I didn't still let myself be talked into or "guilted" into doing things that were too much sometimes, or that I never got caught up in the idea of what other people thought I "should" be able to do, but I at least got to the point where I was able to swallow my pride and ask for help most times when I needed it and to not feel so bad when I said "no" to some things.

As silly as it sounds, one of the hardest things for me to do was ask for help in the grocery store - lifting things, taking the cart out to my car, etc. I knew I [I]looked [/I]like a perfectly healthy, capable woman to everyone else, but I also knew how I felt and how much I'd pay in pain later on for doing those thing myself.

Only you know what you need and only you can communicate those needs to those around you. I'm sure your husband is feeling emotionally overwhelmed and is probably not able to be as supportive as he might be under different circumstances, but try to explain to him how you're feeling. I know sometimes people have spouses, etc., read through some of the posts here.

Most surgeons have the attitude of, "Hey, I fixed it; you're all better." Well, no, it's just not that easy.

It'd be nice if, in a perfect world, we could just lay back and get all better while the world went on around us, but I know that's just not possible. Just try to take a few things off your "have to" list and let them slide to "later".

As for the work question - I believe the standard return is six to eight weeks after surgery, but it really depends on each person adn their own unique set of circumstances. Unfortunately, being on the computer can be a big pain trigger. (in fact, I think it's how a lot of us ended up here...) Maybe talk to your employer about returning for a couple of hours a day and working your way up from there. In the meantime, try to take a step back from all that activity! You can still get through your daily life and responsibilities, just do them a little more slowly when you can. And [I]rest[/I]........

Good luck!

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