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Procedure complete on January 18, 2010. Operation took 5 hours. I may have the cadaver bones treated with a special chemical rather than freeze-dried, as I took part in a study on this. After surgery, I felt great. My pain and numbness symptoms were gone, and I felt good under the pain meds. The doctor gave me an Aspen collar, and told me to keep it on all the time, even in the shower. The only time I could take it off was to change the pads. I was managing the pain pretty well with a PCA pump and percocet. I had difficulty urinating so they had to employ a foley, but that worked ok. I got constipated from the pain meds. I spent that night and most of the next day in the hospital, just making sure I could pee ok before they let me go. My wife drove me home and we picked up some percocet and laxitive meds at Walmart. On the way home we stopped at McDonalds, and I tried to eat a hamburger. I managed to get it down but it was rough. First night home, could not sleep much due to the collar. So I stayed up and watched TV and took my pain meds and laxitives. I would start to fall asleep but my sinuses seem out of wack and want to keep draining. After a few minutes of laying still, I would start to wheeze and it would wake me up. I'd go to swallow and have terrible pain in my throat. I've noticed that loosening up the collar a little really helps on the throat pain. Anyway, now I'm 5 days post op and I slept for a whole hour tonight. I decided to take one percocet at a time because two at a time makes me itch. Food gets caught in my throat, and I have to wash it down with water. Loosening the collar (a little) helped a lot with the swallowing too. I've got six weeks planned off for this. I know it's going to take at least that. More later. Jeff

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Today is one week post-op. I've lost 5 pound since the procedure. The wierd feeling in my throat when I swallow makes me not want to eat too much. My wife went back to work today leaving me home to fend for myself. I'm doing ok. I took only one percocet about 2 this morning because my shoulders hurt. When I woke up at 5 am, I had a headache, I took two extra strength tylenol and that eased the pain. I'm going to lay off the percocet because of the itching. I don't want to take all the laxitive meds either. There's not too much else to say. I slept pretty good last night, only getting up 4 times, which is an improvement over the night before. That's about it for now!
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Day 9. I feel like I have a new neck! Just taking tylenol for the occasional ache. Still wearing the collar 24/7, actually getting used to it. I am sleeping pretty well for two nights now. Pre-op symptoms have not re-occured at all. No pain. Actually had sex last night!
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Tomorrow is two weeks post op. The only issue I still have is when I sneeze. I try to grab my head and hold on, not shake too much. Other than that everything's good. I am pretty much used to sleeping with this collar. I feel bad that my wife went out and bought me a recliner, but I slept in the bed two nights later. I take a fluid pill, HCTZ, in the morning and it really cuts down on the night bathroom trips. Looking back, I'd say the worst problem so far was recovering from the anesthesia and the pain meds. My normal breathing was affected, especially when I relaxed and went to sleep.

As far as my neck goes, the steri strips are coming off. I keep trying to stick them back on, which seems to be working ok. The incision hasn't changed in appearance. I'm not taking any pain meds whatsoever. I think I'm going to try to ride my exercise bike today. We had a major snow event here and I'm very leary of going outside for fear of slipping and falling, but I need to get some kind of exercise.

I'm going to call tomorrow and try to get a follow-up appointment.
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how are things for you now? i am 8 days post op myself ACDF 1 level c4-c5. sometimes i feel like a million bucks, sometimes i feel like dog poop, but i guess that's all part of recovery. i was very active before my injury ( boxing, jiu jitsu, fighting competitively ) so the battle for me is less physical and more mental; i'm just not used to sitting around.
just wanted to let you know someone's listening, so keep us updated. i am interested in hearing how you are doing.
be well
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Hump day of the last week! (5) I go back to the Dr. on Friday to hopefully get this collar off and go back to work. I feel like everything is mostly just fine. I think I am still having some slight side effects from the anesthesia. When I take a deep breath sometimes without thinking about it, it feels like I'm shaking a little when I inhale. I'm wondering if this could be from the collar. My wife says I'm snoring a little too and that's unusual for me. One other thing I've noticed is that my neck seems to pop a little when I turn over at night. Not bad, just a little. It's not uncomfortable at all, just hope it's not leading to anything serious. Other than that, my neck feels fine. It feels strong. Within the collar, I don't feel any problems moving my neck or any discomfort related to the surgery or the hardware. I hope it stays that way.
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Went to Dr. yesterday, and I'm released to go back to work. Slept good without the collar. My neck's a little stiff, but other than that I'm done here! Unless anything else changes, this will be my last post! I hope this helps someone else who is going through ACDF Surgery. I'm very happy with the results. Thank you to the Doctors and staff at VCU medical center in Richmond.
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Two months post-op. Just a small lump in my throat I can feel at times. Sometimes when I yawn, my incision site seems to spasm a little, but I just rub it and it goes away. Everything seems to be ok. :-D
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One issue I am having related to the surgery. The place where they put the IV in my wrist is REALLy sore.
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Five months post-op. The scar in my neck from the operation is pretty well concealed in a natural line in my neck. Some days my neck aches, but most of the time it feels fine. I bought a new chair for my office, one with a high back so I can lean my head back on something. That helps too. I have a slight hesitation to turn around and look at something and I feel a little restriction looking up, but compared to what I had, I'll live with it. If you have to have this surgery, get a Doctor you can trust, and the sooner the better.[/img]
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Thank you for posting your ACDF Journey! I had the ACDF surgery on 9/9/10, 6 weeks ago. How long did it take you to exercise again? I know everyone is different but would love to hear. Thx
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As soon as the last Dr. visit, after 6 months, he told me I could do anything I wanted.
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14.5 months post op, everything is still great! Every once in a while I get muscle spasms in my neck, like when I yawn. Just massage it and it goes away. My reccomendation is this. If you have degenerative disks, don't waste your money on chiropractors or any of these so called pain clinics, just go have the surgery. You'll go from >:( to :-D !
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