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 Management doctor. 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.