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My name is Alana, and I am scheduled to undergo a cervical discectomy with fusion, C-5, in two weeks on March 7, 2012. I am extremely frightened, given what I have read on some of these forums. Here is my story: I am a 33 year old female. The pain began in my neck, shoulder, face, and right arm about 5 years ago. The pain ranges day-to-day, hour-to-hour. There is always some pain, but the range is anywhere from a 3 to a 9 on a scale from 1-10, 10 being the worst. I was officially diagnosed with this problem in 2010. Up until then, I was misdiagnosed with fibromyalgia, so I was being treated for an illness that I never had for several years. Finally, a top-notch neurologist ordered the MRI of my cervical spine in 2010, and that is when I was diagnosed with bulge at C-5 with a bone spurt. Once I got the diagnosis, I tried physical therapy for a few months. When that gave me no lasting relief, I got 3 epidurals, two medial branch blocks, and one radio frequency ablation from a Pain Managementdoctor. I also tried a TENS unit given to me by a chiropractor, along with chiropractic treatments. Still, no relief. A second MRI given two months ago revealed that I have a degenerative illness. So, I went to a neurosurgeon. He happens to be a professor at Columbia University, so I feel like I am in good hands. Plus, his specialty is spinal disorders, and he has performed this surgery many, many times before. I am in pretty good health. I am an ex-smoker, and only 10 pounds over my ideal weight. I have not been exercising much recently because of the pain. I am really scared. I tend to have a bad phobia of doctors, and I just want to know what to realistically expect. I am terrified of not being able to swallow after the surgery, and I am afraid of panicking afterwards. I do not know if I will be in a collar or not. Some of these forums I have read about this surgery are very, very scary. All I know is that my pain is so bad, that I cannot imagine going on like this forever. Any advice is appreciated.

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Please update us Alana! <3

Your story really hit home.  I was so brave agreeing to swap out Pills for Hope (aka C5-C7 discectomy w/ bone fusion).  Now it's my turn to freak out though, and if I know that you are okay...  It will just help me feel a little more comforted with my new reality (after over a decade of pain).  59 days 'til surgery.  If you are out there, we'd ALL love to hear from you!

                                                                                                                                                                   ~Jan 2013

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Honest babe, I am 34 yrs old and i had an anterior discectomy w/ fusion on C5-C6 on 11/29/12 so it has been 6 1/2 wks. Before surgery I had radiating arm pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, upper back pain, pain under my shoulder blades and pain on the right side collar bone I had arm and chest pain so bad that i actually at one point went to the ER because I was afraid I was having a heart attack. I also had numbness and tingling in my fingers. I was so terrified to do this surgery!! Well, after surgery I was not in as much pain as i thought i would be. The worst thing for me was my throat. It felt like i was trying to swallow something that didnt want to go down, which lasted for about 2 wks but I started to have some post OP swelling of my neck which made my throat feel like it was closing but i used an ice pack which helped alot!! I would definitely recommend sleeping in a recliner or using alot of pillows to keep yourself propped up for at least the 1st week. The majority of my pain has gone away and i have feeling again in my fingers. I still have a little aching feeling in the back of my neck and have soreness and stiffness between my shoulder blades but it is alot better. Everyday gets better. I was told before i had surgery that my recovery time would be 4-6 wks but after surgery i was told i couldn't lift anything over 5 lbs for 3 months so that was a little disappointing. My doctor, a highly recommended Neurosurgeon, did not make me wear a hard collar. They released me with a soft collar just to make my ride home a little more comfortable because i live about an hour away from the hospital. The biggest complaint I would have, is being so restricted. I was told not to look up or down, try not to bend over, if i have to just to squat, no turning left or right unless i use my whole body and i can only drive short distances but i dont feel very comfortable driving because of the lack of movement.. Its a little depressing but its getting better. i go back on feb18, 2013 to the doctor and they will do an xray then, to make sure it is fusing. i hope and pray everything goes well for you! I'm still recovering but i just thought this might help a little. I am still looking for stories to follow as i continue my recovery. I dont know if you're interested but you can look up the surgery on youtube and watch exactly what they are going to do. I watched it before my surgery and it actually eased me because I was really confused about how they were going to get to the back of my neck through the front without damaging something. haha.. but i was still a big baby and cried before they took me to the operating room, but all i remember is kissing my husband and and i was out before they rolled me to the OP room. Good luck and i hope this helped.

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Please reply I have the exact sytems as you even about swollowing.am get ó.p. in march.Im 53 an scared too
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I would like to say this about your operation. I have just returned home after my husband has just come out his second surgery of this same thing. He has had C-4 thry C6 done now in the last two months. WE are hoping he will continue to improve. My husband now walks with a cane, but he balance is still off, It takes time we only began in Feb, and now this one today.. so it takes time but what I wanted you to know was this..  when his bone spurs will cutting off spinal fluid causing so many problem below his hips. One day we was walking and just fell. Our doc here is the best is the state of Va. and has saved his life, He could of died without treatment. The most you have to worry about is nausea and some discomfit in the throat. He apply spray for that and he is fine.. I can't say enough..He is not thru yet he has to take his to the lumber.. So, a man of 60 can do, Anyone can.. He is a man that will walk a narrow path due to his age and the number of surgeries ahead of him, But with faith all things all possible, Don't put this off.. My husband thanks his doctor every day for finding his..He was told he was diabetic and come back.. He would of died.. Please don't ignore these problem and having them fixed will only help you.. Good luck.

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