Saturday, August 25, 2012
After months of postponing and waiting for changes in insurance coverage, I finally had anterior cervical fusion surgery on Aug 9. After reviewing my MRI, the surgeon decided to perform 3 levels of the cervical fusion from c4 through c6 to correct degenerated discs, bone spurs and narrowing of the spinal column. My surgeon was a very busy man that day, so I was glad to be first on the table. Surgery lasted 3 hours and then he had two more patients after that. Fortunately, there were no reactions or complications from anesthesia and I woke up in my room alert and hungry! Surprisingly, my throat was not very sore and warm broth and tea felt good going down.
I was very nervous about post op recovery and the pain level that was expected after surgery, but happily, I can report that my recovery so far has been uneventful and much less painful than anticipated.
The 2 week post-op check up with the surgeon yesterday went very well and he is pleased with my progress so far! He said usually patients at the 2 week mark are just starting to wean off pain meds, but I have taken very few since day 3. At this point he recommended that I not return to work for at least another week and then maybe 1/2 days for the first week back. My office co-workers have been great and at least nice enough to say they miss me, and beg for me to hurry back - lol!
The best part is that the doctor did clear me to drive short distances, so at least now I'll be able to venture out some and not be stuck at home dependent on the kindness of friends and family! I do still need to wear the hard brace if I leave home, but am able to take it off around the house. My neck muscles get tired without the brace, so I'll slowly stop wearing it until the muscles are a little stronger.
For now the treadmill or walking is the only exercise I'm allowed to do, but in four weeks I'll start PT and begin working to strengthen the shoulders and upper arms. Already my hands and thumbs feel stronger and pain free and it will be great to regain upper arm strength too! I am looking forward to complete recovery and getting back to a more active routine soon!
This is a time that I should really focus on eating right and watching calories, and I will soon! I have had a few comfort food indulgences, but the pity party needs to stop now and I need to work on an eating plan for this week and get back on track.
Overall, so far, I will consider this a successful surgery and I just need to be patient through the recovery phase and follow the doctors instructions faithfully!