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I would really like some advice and support as at the moment I am quite scared of the thought of this operation which I am scheduled to have next week.

My name is Tracey-ann 34 married with 2 girls. I have C5-C6-C7 disc prolapse and and my Dr. is doing an anterior procedure using titanium disc replacement to relieve the squashed nerves to alleviate the deadness in my left shoulder arm and numbness in my forefinger and middle finger.

My problem is this - I used to and occassionaly still do suffer from panic attacks and I am concerned that the side effect of not being able to swallow will trigger off a panic attack and in turn aggrevate the incision site and to cause a further bleed therefore causing more complications. I have copied and pasted part of the email sent to my surgeon last night to give you a bit more info into my predicament.

"....This is actually the main factor believe it or not - I am not worried about the actual operation as I feel I can trust you and your capabilty of doing this procedure. But the only thing that is worrying me is because I have or used to have panic attacks which used to result in me feeling as though I couldn't breathe, as if I was choking, and not being able to swallow. The complication which may arise after the operation you mentioned about the swallowing aspect, is there anyway around this - possibly to be sedated after the operation long enough for that feeling to pass.

I am just worried that I will get anxious if I get the feeling of not being able to swallow and that triggers a panic attack in the recovery process and in turn causing damage if I get worked up to the scar tissue area, which could in turn start to bleed and cause further problems.

I may be worrying unnecessary but as you said to contact you if I was at all concerned about anything. Please advise..... "



Can I also ask anyone who has had this operation - how did you feel post op. Did the pain go immediately? Did you have problems swallowing? if so how long did it last? Is the incision site very painful? Did you have any complications if so what did you encounter? Did the incision site get infected and how do you stop it getting infected internally?

Sorry I know there is loads of questions but putting it midly I am absolutely petrified about this op. Is there any need to be?

I am on Nolotil, Enantyum, Omeprazol, Codine Paracetamol, Myolastan and Durogesic Morphine patches at the moment. What pain relief do they give you post op.

Any help would be so appreciated.

Thank you so much
Tracey-ann :?

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Hello,

I am facing the same surgery as you, but only one level...

I was wondering how did you make out., as i am quite scared also, ..... have never had panic attacks, but everytime i think about this surgery, my heart starts racing... and i have to think of something else, or i feel i could have one.....

i am scared about the throat thing also, and everything that follows the surgery, mine is scheduled for next month., if you would tell me how you made out.!
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Hi - I didn't go ahead with the surgery - I am trying alternative medicine and it seems to be working for me - THANK GOD !!!!!!!!
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I am a 45 yr old woman post op 5 weeks yesterday. I had a triple level anterior fusion levels 4-5, 5-6, 6-7 including removal of bone spurs & sme grafting. I am writing to give info to those of you scheduled for a fusion. I hope it helps.

I am feeling much better every day but am still dealing with muscle spasms in the neck and shoulders due to the fact that when the titanium cages are placed, your tendons, muscles, etc. are jacked up a bit to place these mechanisms. I occansionally have the feeling of a bubble in the base of my throat, burp and it's over. Swallowing is getting easier daily but very rough the first week or so, which is why you should have someone schedule your meds (including a stool softner) and wake you to stay on track if necessary. My husband was terrific about it and I'm glad I slept through the first week at home. I am returning to work with the only concern of a lack of sleep schedule. I have some difficulty finsing a comfortable neck position creating the need for a sleeping pill. I have some slight discomfort at the incision but I had a great surgeon and the scaring is and will be very minimal. After seeing the X-ray last week, I realize why it was so painful but also I am at the same time amazed at modern medicine.

A few hints.....Plan on jello, applesauce and ice cream for a few days. I would take my pills in a spoonful of applesauce and it helped. Best of luck!
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i am a 44 year old female who had multi level dissection with fusion.
it has been about 11 weeks now. don't worry too much about the
swallowing thing. i felt better in a few days. i had a great surgeon and the sooner you get this over with the better you will feel. my arm pain
has greatly reduced, the only thing i have is headaches. just remember\
to take it easy and let you family do all the work. i have a scheduled appt for 3 months, will let you know how i am
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I had c5/6 and c6/7 anterior cervical disectomy and fusion with the titanium plate and donor bone. most of my pain has been in my neck and shoulder muscles/tendons. The swallowing pain was gone after a couple days - no pain at incision site but still have the steri strips on incision.

I'm just concerned about the pain in my upper back and shoulders continuing long term? Anyone out there more than a few weeks out from surgery? Actually pain has been a lot less than expected, no hoarseness or real painful swallowing problems.
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I had a two level fusion (c4/5/6) with cadaver bone and plate on 11/30/06. I had anxiety attacks going into this surgery (not because of the surgery itself but having to wear this lovely collar). I have to wear the collar for 3 weeks and then have checkup. The night of surgery was rough, but that is to be expected. Do not hestitate to ask for pain med, etc. I was given so many drugs on the day of surgery my head is still spinning (acid reducer/pain killers (morphine and percosett), muscle relaxer (iv Raboxin or something like that), antibiotic (don't know what) and then in the middle of the night the nurse brings me Celebrex??? I had been taking the celebrex at home for the neck pain/arthritis but had stopped several weeks before surgery. This really floored me. Anyway was discharged the next day with only percosett and the muscle relaxer. I arrived home with a rash so doc changed to Darvoset as I cannot stand Lortab. Have pretty much stopped popping pain pills except for Tylenol at night and when I first get up. I take only half of muscle relaxer. Pain is not an issue at incision site. I have felt virtually no pain there. I do have the pain still down my arm which is normal because the nerve is going, hey what is up, no more pressure. My throat is still clogged and hoarseness comes and goes. The main thing is the collar and sleeping. If I can get my sleep I can survive anything. I ended up in floor with piles of pillows 2 nights ago. We have a hospital bed that was good for the first few days. I have now resorted to the piles of pillows. I bought a wedge and pile the pillows on. Use a really soft (memory foam) type pillow next to your head so you sink in. I was initially given a Philadelphia collar but this did not fit properly so came out of surgery in an Aspen collar. I use the Philadelphia for a few hours each day just to give me a break from the Aspen, plus the Philadelphia is good for showering in. I also use corn starch under the collar and have a men's silk hanky that is my best friend that I use under the collar. Silk handwashes and dries fast. I also am using cotton pads on the plastic parts of the collar near the ear to pad my ears when I lay down. I try to walk several times a day short distances and do some leg lifts, etc. Heat and cold are also helpful. I use my TENS unit when the spasms and nerve pain on my left side gets really bad. I hope this helps anyone about to go through this. Attitude is everything. Have soothing music handy (I listen to this when I can't sleep). I also have books on tape and a little table that goes up and down with a little recliner chair that I sit in. I try to sit different places in the house so my body is stuck in one position all of the time. Hope all of this helps. It is frustrating to know you are compromised for a few months but I believe the end result will be worth it all.
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I had level 5-6 replaced. Initially I had very little pain post op. Prior to the surgery I had numbness in my right arm and fingers. The pain in my neck was so bad that I could barely get comfortable in bed at night.
After the surgery I started to get numbness back in my arm and fingers. I also started to feel some pain in my shoulders and neck. I freaked out. I was sent to a pain specialist.after being told the fusion was perfect. The pain specialist put me on nerve medicine and sent me to physical therapy and a message therapist. I could not tolerate the nerve medicine and the message therapist did too much range of motion on me and increased my problems. I dropped out of physical therapy because my pain also increased. Since then I have just taken it easy and done some very mild neck exercises. The only time I have pain is when my shoulders become tense and I overdo it. I've also watched pulling and tugging. This definitely needed to be scaled back. Don't pick up anything heavy for a long time. Don't reach and pull too much. Go very easy on your body. I hardly have any pain any more. My surgery was almost 4 months ago. I am so much better off than before my surgery. One of my biggest problems was my anxiety and depression. I finally was put on antidepressants and xanax xr for anxiety. This has helped me tremedously. I hope to eventually ween myself off the xanax. The xanax xr is a hundered times better than regualr xanax. I don't have any answers for long term strength. For right now I'm still taking it easy. I know someone who told me it took about a year to completely recover from this surgery. The good news is that I've met several people who are pretty much pain free. I know that a year sounds like a long time but when you look at the overall picture it's probably worth it. Just take care of yourself and try not to overdo it. Good luck and let me know how you are. If anyone has any suggetions as to when to start back at the gym I would really appreciate this and also what did you do when you did go back to exercising. At physical therapy they told me I needed to make sure that I did not lose strenth in my upper back, shoulders etc. My email is _[removed]_. please feel free to email me. I think we can all help each other.
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I had my surgery 12-2004. Though most of you seem to have had a great surgeon, mine was not so hot. Had it at the VA in Albuquerque, NM. Had no choice. The surgery seemed to go good. Right after, my numbness and tingling, arm pain etc. was gone. Morphine drip was great. Throat was sore. Dr. told them I could handle a regular meal. NOT! It took arguing with him for a day and a half to get him to order me a liquid diet. Then, I was finally able to get some nutrition. Was discharged feeling good, told them I didn't need a wheel chair. HaHa. Didn't even make it out of my room. Got a wheelchair to take me to the truck. After returning home, I felt great. Then, the Morphine wore off. Ouch. Popped some pills really fast. From then till today, I've had nothing but problems. As I sit writing this today, I am doped up on Oxycontin and Baclofen. (for severe pain and a muscle relaxer) I am now on Social Security and VA disability. No more Medical Assisting for me. I have been extremely depressed as it usually occurs with chronic pain. I can't have fun like I used to. I leave the house once in a great while. Can't drive. Can't work, or function like I used to. Can't have sex with out pain. I am a 36 year old married woman and mother to a 20 and 18 year old. Thank god this happened later on in their lives. To many problems to list, and no way to correct them with today's technology. I still would have had the surgery as I couldn't live like I was, just needed to have a better surgeon who knew what to do, correctly. Good luck to anyone else having the surgery, chances are you'll be fine. However, maybe you'll end up just like me. Think long and hard and be prepared for the worst, and hope for the best.
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It has been 4 weeks since my 2 level acdf on 11/30/2006. I went to the doctor for checkup on 12/22/06. He said I could remove hard collar which I have been weaning myself off of. I have been using soft collar to do this and not sleeping in a collar at night. I mainly wear soft collar out in public around people. I have also been given a bone stimulator to wear 4 times per day. It is more comfortable to wear with soft collar on (pads neck). My neck is still very soar down left side (surgery side) and a little bit on right side. My neck is also stiff. The nerve pain comes and goes. The doctor prescribed Lyrica but I did not like the way it made me feel. I am doing very good I think. I don't take pain meds at all anymore. I take half of muscle relaxer most nights with a Tylenol PM to make me sleep. That is the main problem I have right now is sleeping a full nights sleep. I try to walk and stay active in the day but still am not able to sleep. Anyone have any ideas when sleep will last more than 2 or 3 hours without waking up?
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Can you not have it redone or something?
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"To many problems to list, and no way to correct them with today's technology. I still would have had the surgery as I couldn't live like I was, just needed to have a better surgeon who knew what to do, correctly. Good luck to anyone else having the surgery, chances are you'll be fine. However, maybe you'll end up just like me."

Is there no chance of having it redone? I had mine 2 years ago, same day and month. I've been so much better, but am starting to have sharp pains up my neck.
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I had a "Prestige" disc replacement four days ago in Canada.

Prior to the surgery, I had a year of pain and numbness in one arm, which had relented somewhat in the weeks prior to the surgery. I controlled symptoms with Korean accupuncture and intense massage therapy.

Immediately after the surgery, I felt I had been hit by a bus and couldn't imagine ever feeling good again. Even with morphine, I found swallowing very painful, but not impossible. I would take in some liquid, prepare myself, then a quick swallow followed by intense pain. However, by the second day, I was eating turkey and broccoli in the hospital, and walked down to the snack bar on the second evening to buy a cookie. All in all, recovery has been much more rapid than I would have expected, particulary given my intense pain the first day. Yesterday was a good day, and my brace was off, I was eating lasagna, walking around chatting on the phone. Today is not so good. Lots of pain and some nausia. I am using only percocet to control my pain, and find I more or less depend on it every four hours still now. I am having problems with constapation as a result.

If I can help you make your decision or give you more information, contact me directly.

Good luck with whatever you chose.

 ***this post is edited by moderator *** *** private e-mails not allowed*** Please read our Terms of Use

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I had a "Prestige" disc replacement four days ago in Canada.

Prior to the surgery, I had a year of pain and numbness in one arm, which had relented somewhat in the weeks prior to the surgery. I controlled symptoms with Korean accupuncture and intense massage therapy.

Immediately after the surgery, I felt I had been hit by a bus and couldn't imagine ever feeling good again. Even with morphine, I found swallowing very painful, but not impossible. I would take in some liquid, prepare myself, then a quick swallow followed by intense pain. However, by the second day, I was eating turkey and broccoli in the hospital, and walked down to the snack bar on the second evening to buy a cookie. All in all, recovery has been much more rapid than I would have expected, particulary given my intense pain the first day. Yesterday was a good day, and my brace was off, I was eating lasagna, walking around chatting on the phone. Today is not so good. Lots of pain and some nausia. I am using only percocet to control my pain, and find I more or less depend on it every four hours still now. I am having problems with constapation as a result.

If I can help you make your decision or give you more information, write me directly: ******
Good luck with whatever you chose. Brad

**edited by moderator**
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Hi all....I had my surgery on Dec.5, 2006 and everything seems to be going well. My swallowing is improving daily and pain at my incision site(neck) is minimal. I had a bone graft from my left hip and that does cause some discomfort but it's not unbearable. My question is how long were most of you off work, my injury occured from lifting at my job and they called my three weeks post op to ask about my return date. I work at a school with a medically fragile child and some special needs children in kindergarten, which means lifting, pulling etc. Oh incidentally I had C5 C6 C7 repaired. I'm afraid my surgeon will say go back to work and this will result in an injury again....he's an awesome surgeron but I don't know how supportive he will be with my return to work plan. Another question I had was in regards to physiotherapy....has anyone found this beneficial? Thanks everyone
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