Wednesday, April 29, 2009

After Surgery

It is now 2 weeks after the surgery and I have begun the healing process. First let me go back to when I awoke in the recovery room. At the time I felt great, the numbness was gone from my finger and not a bit of pain shooting down my are. My back was sore when I moved and my hip hurt like heck. They had a soft collar on my neck and drainage tube in my throat to let the excess fluid drain out, which was a bit gross, but not painful at all. The fist day they gave me a morphine drip, so I did’t feel a thing and I was sure everything was going to work out just fine...was feeling no pain. I was able to walk the same day of surgery up and down the hall and sleep okay that night, but was not able to move really at all in bed. I had to just lay as still as possible on my back, and that was the only position I could do. I was able to get up to use the bathroom, but had to have these pumps on my legs removed by the nurses every time, so that was a bit of a pain. The hardest and most painful part was getting back into bed. They also wake you up every couple hours to take your vital signs, so that interferes with the sleep. After the first day, you are taken off Morphine and they put me on Hydrocodone for the pain. These work very good to keep the pain away, but make you pretty tired and mess with your insides. They took out the drainage tube (Which hurt just a tiny bit) and sent me home at noon the next day after surgery. The car ride home is somewhat of an adventure, but was not too bad at all. At home I was made comfortable by the pain pills and felt pretty good and slept most of the next 3 days. After the first week, was off the pain pills altogether and was walking and showering without that much discomfort. I have to have the soft collar on at all times but the shower, but I have already gotten used to it. The pain down my arm had come back a bit and the numbness was also back, but was told this may happen. It is now Monday, 2 weeks after the surgery. I am back to work and I have some pain in my right arm am numbness in my finger, but overall I feel pretty well. Hoping I will get much better in the next few days.


About 7 years ago, I awoke to numbness in my right index finger and allot of pain shooting down my right arm. At the time I had poor insurance so did what I could do manage the pain with ibuprofen and stretching. This did not give me much relief so I went to a medical doctor who proscribed predazone. This helped a bit, but only during the time that I was on the pills and never got rid of the numbness. This drug also makes you fidgety and I couldn't sleep very well. After a few years of just living with the pain, I had better insurance and went to a Chiropractor and also had message therapy. This seemed to take care of the problem for a little while, but eventually the pain and numbness came back. After this did not work, I thought I was stuck with just going to the Chiropractor every month or so, which I did, and never really solving anything. Finally in 2008, after working out very hard, the pain came back super strong and even several visits to the Chiropractor did not help. So, I was put on Vicoden for the pain and underwent spinal epidural steroid injections and also did many sessions of physical therapy. This seemed to help for a few weeks but again, the pain came back. An MRI and CT scan were done, and showed sever degeneration of the disc between C6 & C7, which has protruded out the disc area and blocked the nerve signals running down my right arm, which caused the pain and numbness. So on Monday April 13th I decided to have cervical spinal fusion on C6&C7. They harvested a bone from my hip and placed into the opening from the removed disc tissue and connected everything with a titanium plate and 4 screws.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

2 Weeks

I had my 2 week follow up appointment. They took x-rays and removed my stitches and bandages. The pain has subsided a bit, and was told I can take Advil for a day or two, but not to keep taking it because this will interfere with the fusion. Dr. said I was in the first inning of recovery and had a long way to go. He said I need to still take it very easy. I asked about Sauna and using a tread mill. The sauna was a no-no for a few weeks, but walking on the tread mill was fine. The scare on my next is starting to heal, but it is still a bit swollen and red and very noticeable. The scar on my hip is pretty big and ugly but is going to be below my waist line, so nobody will ever see it. I'm back to work full time and I was really tired when I got home, and slept for about 9 hours last night, so I feel pretty good today. I could see on the x-rays that there was still a white line between the vertebra and new bone, so fusion is still aways away.

I guess so far so good at this stage.

Monday, April 27, 2009


I stated this blog because I found that is was hard to find information about recovery from cervical spinal fusion. What I will do in following entries is provide updates on my healing process, and details about what was done and why. I would invite you to share your own stories successful or otherwise, as well. Thanks and happy blogging.