Recently I underwent an ACDF (anterior cervical discectomy and fusion) with hardware at C5-6. It was a last resort following conservative treatment with failed outcomes, deterioration in fine motor skills, and neuropathy in both shoulders and arms including hands.
The decision to undergo surgery was difficult at first. However, I realized the time had come. It needed to be done to save my livelihood – the ability to use my hands. Functionality is as important – if not more important – as pain at some points.
I am roughly two weeks post op and continue to have stiffness and pain when I turn my head to the right. And although my arms still feel very heavy, the tingling and pins and needles are less. I am thankful for that. I am trying to stay optimistic that with healing will come a decrease in pain and stiffness. I am currently using heat and also have meds for pain and spasms if I need to take them. They can be sedating, so I try to hold off and take them at night. I find myself up a lot at night and am looking at the possibility my pillow may be an aggravating factor. I am going to try a different one tonight to see if it helps.
My doctor said the problems with my neck didn’t start yesterday and it would take time for the nerves to calm down following the surgery, so I know that being just two weeks it is not reasonable to be symptom free. The good thing is my surgeon performs a lot of these surgeries and everyone I talked to said I was in the best hands possible. So I feel good about that.
What I need to do now is focus on getting better. I am thinking as positively as I can that my chances for a positive outcome are good. Tincture of time can sometimes be hard to take. I am looking to reduce stress wherever possible because I know that this can drain my coping skills and waste my energy. Sometimes it is easier said than done. I must eat and rest and take it easy. Although it is hard for me, I am asking for help when I need it. I am fortunate to have a supportive husband and family to help me through this trying time.
I am hoping for a speedy recovery so I can get back to full time work with as few limitations as possible. And for now, I will work on it one day at a time.