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In the up coming days, I will make an account of my ADCF surgery and not what I think you should expect but what I am experiencing at the present time. I recently had a 2 level (C5-C6) ADCF with plating on 12-5-08.

I will do a day to day scenerio for the first few days, then I will give a week to week. I just want others to know of my experiences with this surgery so they are a little more informed about this surgery then I. This board, like many others are a soap box for some people to add a bunch of extras into a story.

I hope this will help those of us in the same sort of boat, and to understand the situation and what to expect both good and bad.
Good Luck to all who reads:

Tom

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My day #1 (December 5h, 2008) the day of surgery. Everything went as planned, with the exception that the C5 disc was nearly crushed flat and my C6 was intact. This news is opposite of the MRI reports and the MRI readings per three different doctors.

Surgery was 90 minutes, 45 minutes additional recovery. I stayed in the hospital overnight and went home on the 6th of December (evening).

Morphine is the painkiller of choice (which made me and kept me nauseated) for the first 10-14hrs. Due to this feeling, I did not eat very much at all, drinking was low also. The best thing you can do for yourself is to drink plenty of water and try to get off of the Morphine drip if it makes you sick. Your recovery will begin that much faster!

Once of off the Morphine drip, I started a painkiller name Ultracet or my Generic Version which is Tramadol. This helped the sick feeling subside and I started to eat which helped with strength and aided in getting up to walk.

First night was bad, as you could probably imagine. They gave me something for the nauseated feel in the I.V. and it helps for a while so I could get some rest.

As far as the pain – I was told that my voice would be gone for 10-14 days, trouble breathing and have severe neck pain. I have had none of this, including talking with a strong voice in the recovery room. I was in tremendous pain since August so pain is relative. More discomfort then pain, in my opinion. Breathing has been fine, neck pain goes without saying (you had surgery) and for the first time the cronic right arm and han pain which has been severe over the last couple of months is all but gone.

Numbness in right hand finger tips are still there, but this will be the last thing to return, or so I am told.
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My Day# 2, (December 6th, 2008) Since getting up to walk further down the hall then to the washroom, my recovery seemed to pick up major speed. I only took about 50-75 steps the first time, and went back to the room. Two hours later, I walked clear down the hall and around the corner. We were walking for about 15-20 minutes on the second trip. I was off the Morphine and was eating better and the second walking trip was about 20 minutes after eating lunch. I ate a cup of beef broth, Cherry Jello, some Chocolate Pudding and a can of Sierra Mist. Best thing for the Sierra Mist, let it flatten first. The bubbles are really painful (sting) at first.

I departed hospital at 5:30pm roughly 30hrs post op. I was discharged with a soft collar and stitches and dressing.

I got a prescription for Antibiotics and the above mentions Tramadol for pain relief. No other prescriptions, just the bandages and items for recovery up to and including the day of my post operation office visit with my surgeon. (December 18th, 2008)

My first meal at home was Maurchin Instant Lunch. I had NO problems with eating this and drank the soup with a straw. I was told (and read) about the two weeks of Jello Pudding and Jello Gelatin Diet I was going to be on. Humbug! Not happening.

Neck has a decent range to it, it is stiff and I am not pushing it as of right now. As far as the pain goes, it is still what I considered discomfort. I was told to keep taking the pain killers so the pain doesn’t escalate to a volume that I would not be able to manage. Painkillers are every 6hrs, so I take them every 6 hours for now!
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Day #3 (December 7th, 2008) Last night was rough, had to find the best pillow for the neck brace so I could get comforable. Once the proper pillow was located (my wife's go figure :-S ) this was going to make the night alot better.

I slepted from 11pm to 4:45am and got up to take my antibiotics and pain killers. Went back to bed and fell right back to sleep and awoke around 8:25am. Breathing is fine, turning over is fine, and the only thing to get used to is that soft collar. Beats the right arm and hand pain, and not being able to lift a gallon of milk from the refrigerator. Life is good, IMO!

This is actually more sleep than I was getting pre-op.

I ate pancakes this morning :-P and they hurt going down (a little). Nothing to call the doctor about, but I had to try it out. Swallowing is different for now, the feeling is like taking your vitiamins and the pill doesn't go down all the way. It also feels like you get an air bubble in your lower throat, I burb it out and believe it or not this works.
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Day #4 (December 8th, 2008) Things are rolling along. Had a phone call from the surgeon's office to see how things are going. The nurse said that the soft collar is not mantatory for 24hrs a day. If you feel you need it while you are up and around, put it on! Don't need, don't use it - especially in bed.

Ate breakfast, had cereal this morning - discomfort yes, painful no! Smaller bites and you just got to take your time, that's it!

Sleeping during the afternoon's after my painkillers, sitting up in the same position is not advisable. Learned that lesson to day, will try not to forget this lesson any time soon. Neck gets stiff, and than you are fighting that feeling for a good while. Live and learn!!

Regular dinner tonight, no more thinking of Jello or Pudding. I am not using the soft collar starting tonight, will try this out. I will probably need another (smaller) pillow for support.

As of today, this is a decent decision for the surgery. I am very happy with the outcome.
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Day #5 (December 9th, 2008) Last night was the first night without brace for sleeping. It actually is not as bad as I thought it would be. I can sleep on either side, without any reservations. Sleeping for 5-6hrs, taking some meds and returning to bed for another 2-3 hrs.

Everything is fine, breathing is fine, swallowing is OK today. Without a brace I might have my neck in a different position so the swallowing is different today. Soup, and sandwich for lunch without too many problems. Can't eat the way you used to do, so smaller bits (for now) feel like I am getting stronger by the day. Moving around like surgery was three weeks ago, not 5 days ago.

Talking, breathing, eating, swallowing are all good. Talking should be limited, as soon as your throat drys out, swallowing gets harder. Keep a sport's bottle on the night stand at night. Get a dry throat, get a little liquid no problems.

Still 8 more days for my 1st office visit after surgery. I feel great, hope my insides are as happy as my outsides :-)
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I was just wondering if they took bone from your hip, cadaver or used the synthetic type for the fusion.
Also, I never had the morphine drip. It was Vicodin all the way through.
I am at 1o months post and still have pain and numbness in my left hand/ lower forearm. Just recently had some sneezing and it is causing pain from the shoulder back down the arm and into my hand. The same path as the herniation pain, just not nearly as painful, but enough to stop me in my tracks. This was the first scarry moment in a long time.
I had bone removed from my hip which was 90% of my my post op pain.
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You are the truck driver, right? I saw your wife's original post about the 2/25 surgery and still out of work. I to am a truck driver, but I am looking to go into another line of work. Would rather not have the disc on top of below the fusion go bad any time soon.

But to answer your question, we got the bone from a bone bank. Surgeon thought there is enough pain to go through with this surgery, adding hip pain isn't really worth it.

Artificial wasn't an option, I had two level fusion, artificial is only good for a single level and then it is only on certain situations. That is what I was told.
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No morphine for me either, no overnight stay in hospital ( left 4 hrs after surgery, riding 50 miles home) and no neck brace. I could talk immediately after I woke up from surgery and ate solid food the next day.
I feel somewhat offended that you commented in your first blog that some of our "pains" after surgery are made up or the truth streched.
I have suffered tremendously since having this surgery in 2005. I have had test after test (my medical records I swear are about 6 inches thick!), physically therapy three times and had every type of medication shoved on me that you could only imagine.
I sincerely hope for you that you get along great after this surgery but what I've witnessed with myself and others I personally know who have had this same surgery is the pain and muscle spasms come later ( 6-12 mos) in the healing process.
I guess what I want to say is I'm happy for you that you are doing so well after ACDF but please don't criticize us poor souls that are not.
Keep getting better.....
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I cannot believe that anyone got from what my one sentence of extras and soap boxes equal to "our pains are made up or the truth stretched", adding how thick your medical records are with the amount of therapy, tests, and to all your medications "shoved" on you and then something that you perceive as "criticizing us poor souls".

Like I said before, this is my experiences (good or bad). If you agree, fine and if you don't that is fine too! I guess I could be offended that you don't agree with my posts. True? Informative is what my posts are, not emotional nor counter productive. Like it or not! Believe this or not, you don't have to answer posts that you don't agree with, unless of course "the shoe fits".

Quote:

If you look long and hard enough, you can always find something to complain about!

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thegloveman01,
I agree with your reason to post here. They will be helpful to some, and yet those who are having symptoms unlike yours do not have to add any extras to make it a real story. Their story line is simply another attempt to help people or to find someone who knows what they are going through. Don't take me wrong, I look forward to you continuing to log your weeks as they go by.

Your surgery only took 90 min? Most of these seem to have taken 3-4hours. Only curious, do you know why it was so short? My surgery took 4 hours.

You said " I recently had a 2 level (C5-C6) ADCF with plating on 12-5-08." and I am confused. having C5-C6 worked on is just a single level isn't it? or did they work on more that that?

I had a 2 level done on 10-30-08 with C4-C5 and C5-C6 removed and fused using cadaver inside of an artificial spacer that was hollowed out to hold the cadaver bone in place while it fused. Then a 6 screw plate was inserted to hold things in place. And 5 weeks out I am still in a Miami J collar with orders not to exercise or lift anything over 20lbs. until after January 7th when I go back to my surgeon. I wont elaborate on the pain, but it is still here! just in new places.

I hope I didn't add too many extras to my story. I just wanted to share all of my experiences just like you.

I think it is great that you are healing so fast. Good luck :-)
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I limited the subject line C5/6 and C6/7, two levels. As for your question about 90 minutes. C5/6 had to be burred out with some type of toll to grind. Which didn't take very long. I was originally told for this procedure that 2.25hrs is what it would have taken, once the surgery began.

My fusion is with bone from a bone bank supported with a titanium plate. As far as the number of screws, bushings and such I am sure they said but isn't as important as the results.

Thanks for the digs. Hope you feel better! Soon!
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Everything is still on track. Only got up to take meds at 2am, so I can get all prescribed antibiotics in for the whole day. Neck pain subsides each day, depending on my activities during a particular day.

Numbness is my arm and hand is still there, strength is better, not great but better. I was told yesterday that the first symptom that came would be one of the last to go. (ie numbness is fingers and arm)

Range of motion is getting alittle better. Hurts a little more turning to the right then any other direction. Chin touches my chest, and can rotate head from left (past shoulder) and to the right (past shoulder). Looking up is diffifult with bandages on, and the muscle is still sore. Will attempt after I change dressing this afternoon.

Eating is better (ate a real pre-op meal with minor discomfort) as well as the swallowing of my meds. I took all three of my pills together this morning to see if they would all go down. They did, along without the use of a straw, just tilted the glass back.

Different parts of my neck have discomfort like the muscles between the neck and the shoulders (both sides). I figured for holding your head still and with the neck brace other muscles will be affected. I will know more after next Thursday's Post-Op exam. X-Rays will be in the near future I was told by the Doctors office to make sure the inserted hardware is in place correctly.

I will receive a "Bone Stimulator Collar" on my Post-Op visit. This was measured for Pre-Op and should arrive at the doctors office prior to my Post-Op visit. This is another type of neck collar. A four hour per day prescription is warranted to help in the fusion of the bone. Something to do with aligning the ions in your neck to aid in the healing and fusion of the bones.
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It is good you have great Range Of Motion. I can touch my chest also. But looking up will be hard for the rest of our lives I am told by my surgeon. Not impossible though. I just cant look at the stars overhead easily. As for the right to left, If looking straight ahead is 12 O'clock then I can look to the left at about 10 and to the right at only 1 or 2 significantly less than the left. I think this is due to the un-repaired C6/7 disc I have.

My surgeon is doing my Xrays on my 2nd visit(week 8). He said that the fusion can take 4-6 weeks.

How does that "Bone Stimulator Collar" work? I never heard of it yet. I wonder if it is related to the Cold Laser therapy I had or maybe the Electric Stim.

Sounds great in your case. Keep healing!

Chin up to those having difficulties.
Good luck, and take it one day at a time folks.
Rob
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After reading your post again, I think it is on the same technology of the Cold Laser therapy I had in my chiropractors office. He said it is a new thing they discovered and all the reports so far in his journals have been good. It does not hurt in fact you don't feel anything.

They say it is good therapy for almost any ache and pain you may have. My wife had it done on her heal spurs and now they have gone away after 3 years of different treatments and injections. She never felt that it helped but now as I think back... Her spurs are gone!

Let us know if it helps you out. Maybe it will be something others need to ask about.
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