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ACDF Surgery Recovery Update

Today I am 70 days post op from ACDF C3-7 Surgery on Sept 25th 2020; and I also had an appointment with the surgeon (Nurse Practitioner actually) to see how I’m doing.

They took a couple of x-rays of my neck and said I’m doing well. The only issue I’m having is muscle pain/tightness/spasms on the right side of my neck, both shoulders, and between my shoulder blades. This is expected she said, and will ease in time. At the 6 months post op time frame I’ll be able to do some physical therapy to help with any of those issues, if they remain. Until then, she suggested that I up my dose of the muscle relaxer to 2 a day. I take one occasionally at night before bed, but not during the day due to the dizziness and drowsiness it causes. She suggested that on days I can afford to lounge around, if the muscles are hurting, to take a daytime dose of the muscle relaxer, instead of taking just Tylenol. There’s not many days around here where one can ‘lounge’ around, but I will make time and try one of the relaxers during the day to see what happens, and how it makes me feel.

I am still under some limitations: No lifting more than 5 lbs. , no strenuous exercises, walking for exercise, no sudden head movements, still have to wear the Stim Cell magnetic therapy ‘necklace’ 4 hours a day for next 12-18 months.

At my last appointment, she said I needed to be off of my RA meds (Enbrel & Methotrexate) for 3 months. BUT she didn’t specify (and I forgot to ask) if that was from the time I stopped the medication before surgery or from the surgery date. I asked today about that, and it is indeed 3 months from the date I had surgery. Sooooo, that means on December 25th I will be able to begin my meds and it can’t come soon enough. The past week or so my hands have really been feeling it, and my ankles too. Hopefully the next 3 weeks will fly by and the flaring will not get any worse. The medicine combination of Enbrel and Methotrexate works well, I expect relief within a couple of weeks starting back on the medication. Having been off my meds since Aug 31 for Methotrexate and Sept 3 for Enbrel, I’m surprised my hands aren’t in worse condition. That’s a LONG time to be without both of those medicines. BUT it’s important for the healing process of my neck to be off of those meds and let my immune system do its work; the downside to that is that it makes the RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis) flare. I can bear it. I want my neck to heal properly.

Thanks for reading and being interested in my recovery. I appreciate your time. Next update in 3 months after my next appointment!

xoxoxo

Leona

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Important News

ACDF Surgery Recovery Update

Today is 60 days since I had my surgery.

November 6 I began to wean myself off of the brace/collar and was totally done on November 15th. No brace anymore!! I was also given permission to drive again!

Living without the brace…my neck is a little stiff still, and range of motion is limited. I have to be very careful, no sudden movements, no strenuous activities, etc.,. I am doing the daily 4 hour Stim Cell magnetic therapy, it’s become part of my morning routine ~If you’d like to learn more about the device and how the therapy works, check it out here: https://www.orthofix.com/ifus/cervical-stim/

Shampooing my hair is still needing to be done in a gingerly fashion, I’m looking forward to filming shampoo videos again, but they will have to be done in a tub; the weight of my mane entirely wet is too much for my neck to bear at this point. In time, in time…. I’m a patient woman, I can wait….

I have virtually NO pain, other than an occasional headache, and muscle spasms. My old neck pain is gone, and I can’t tell you how wonderful that is! I feel so good! I feel like I can do MORE than the limitations they’ve put on me, but I don’t want to go against Dr.’s orders. That means no lifting over 5 lbs, no overhead reaching ( I do this sometimes, oops) and no strenuous activities. Unlimited walking and stair climbing privileges.

The incision scar looks great. I have obtained some medical honey to help with the healing and scarring, hopefully it will fade soon and be less obvious. But you know what? if it doesn’t I’m fine with it. It’s not that bad, really. Will post pics in next update.

I have another appointment December 3rd with the surgeon and will have more to report then.
Thanks for reading, and being concerned about me. I appreciate you. xoxox

Leona

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ACDF Surgery Update

Long read, but want to keep everyone updated Surgery update: Today is day 14 since I had the ACDF Surgery. Here’s what that is: “Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) is a type of neck surgery that involves removing a damaged disc to relieve spinal cord or nerve root pressure and alleviate corresponding pain, weakness, numbness, and tingling. A discectomy is a form of surgical decompression, so the procedure may also be called an anterior cervical decompression.” I had C3-7 discs replaced. You can read more about it here if you would like: https://www.spine-health.com/…/acdf-anterior-cervical…

Waking up from the surgery in my hospital room I was in considerable pain and discomfort, and HOT as a MOFO. I was losing my mind I was so hot. BikerMan found a fan in the hallway and stripped me down and put a cold rag on my head and the fan on my body. IDC that I was butt naked it was HOT and I needed cooling off lol. I have had surgery several times before and never had an issue like that coming out of anesthesia, but this being 2020, that wasn’t the case with this time. I was very nauseous the entire day of/ after the surgery and actually got sick twice during that first night. My night nurse, James, was a trooper, and a great nurse. I had vomited on myself and he had to clean me up and was very gracious and compassionate about it. I will not say that about the rest of the nurses I encountered, but James and his assistant were top notch medical professionals. Hell yeah. I went home the afternoon after my surgery, uncomfortable ride it was lol. I was loopy on drugs, couldn’t lay down due to the hard neck brace, made for a long ride home 80 miles away.

My hair. It’s been 15 days since I shampooed last. I need to do one soon, and honestly, I’m scared to. Idk how or when we are going to attempt this, but it needs to be soon. It’s in two braids now, not the 4 that the Dr. requested I do. He also requested that I coil the 4 braids into buns on the side of my head. lol Leia buns! My daughter suggested I shampoo one side of my head at a time since it’s in two braids. That is probably what we will do. One side one day, the other side the next. As of yesterday I am off the pain pills, steroids and antibiotics, I don’t like taking opiods, and I’m not really in pain without them. Muscle spasms in my back, yes, that is still happening. But there’s no incision pain (other than tenderness), and occasional headache, which I’m taking tylenol for. I will probably take a muscle relaxer tonight after supper, but I’ve not needed one yesterday or today yet. Hopefully I will be able to start back on my Enbrel and other RA meds soon, I can feel some RA symptoms creeping in, I don’t need that! lol I think my incision is healing well enough to start them back, but it’s not up to me. BikerMan has been absolutely wonderful during all this post op care and new normal ( for awhile anyway). I’ve not been the best and most patient patient, and at times have been rude to my husband. I feel horrible about that. I’m sorry love. Anything I need he is right there with it. Sleeping is a struggle daily…It’s getting easier though. Finding a comfortable position is the problem, and not needing so many pillows that there’s not room for BikerMan on the bed, lol. He said He could cuddle up at my feet like jax does, lol. I love him, he’s wonderful and thoughtful through it all. I’m able to shower, dress and feed myself, and braid my hair. Other things I am still limited, no driving, no lifting over 5 lbs, no overhead reaching, no heavy pushing or pulling. Neck collars/brace 24/7 unless showering. Limit my head/neck movement as much as possible. I do have unlimited walking and stair climbing privileges, so I’ve been doing as much walking around as I can. Sorry for the long read, just thought I’d post about it in case anyone was wondering. Taking this one day at a time.

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I Have A Date Tomorrow

I have a date tomorrow, and yes, my husband is OK with this. Long read ahead, but it’s very important!! Please read.

My date is with a surgeon.

Tomorrow I will be having surgery on my neck. Finally. I have degenerative disc disease along with bone spurs & my C3-7 discs are gone, basically. The degeneration of the discs and resulting compression of the vertebra has caused my spinal cord to be pinched/bruised in this area. They also told me that my bones are already starting to fuse themselves together. I will be in the hospital overnight, and wearing a collar for 6-8 weeks 24/7 except for eating and showering. Soft foods for a couple weeks, no lifting over 10 pounds…I’m very grateful that BikerMan knows how to braid and take care of my hair. I’m going to need major help with it these next couple months. Thank you in advance baby. The Dr. has requested that I have two braids on each side of my head and that the braids be made into a bun on each side. In other words, I’ll be rolling into surgery rocking some princess leia braided buns lol. I was going to wear a single braid ~ they want it bound and out of the way for real. Leia braided buns it is then. This surgery is a blessing, I’ve been in tremendous pain, debilitating at times, in my neck for many years now. The past few months, I’ve noticed the pain changing, moving to my extremities and NOT responding to pain relief methods that has previously worked for years. I don’t like going under the knife but I need this surgery or my condition will only worsen over time. The longer I go without it, my spinal cord would be injured worse, and cause damage that cannot be undone. I should have had this done years ago, but I was a patient of a doctor that neglected the severity of my condition. Thank goodness I found a new RA Dr. that helped me with this on my first visit with her.  She ordered an MRI, gave me a muscle relaxer, and a topical gel that gave me relief. Previous Dr. never did ANYTHING to help me with my neck condition. Not even refer me to a Dr. that would help. But anyway…..I’m rid of him, and am in good capable hands now. That’s what matters. In my case, this condition is hereditary. From who I inherited this from I’ve no idea, my sister has this same condition and has had this same surgery, same levels before. I’ve been leaning on her a lot for advice and her experience. Also have a friend who had this surgery but just two levels. So I do have some folks around me to talk to about their experience, etc. All this being said, I’m nervous as hell. But….. I can’t wait to not feel this pain in my neck. I can’t wait for the day the muscles in my neck aren’t feeling like they have marbles in them. I can’t wait for the pain to not be there 24/7. I’m hopeful, but scared. lol Positive vibes, prayers everything accepted. My love to all, and see ya’ll on the flip side!