Sunday, May 30, 2010


My very "minimal" scar. I think my surgeon is an amazing man. The three dots above the scar are marks made by the surgeon in pen.
I was required to wear this neck brace for two weeks, including sleeping and showering in it.
Side view of the plate and screws that are in my neck only I have one more level of fusion.
Front view of the plate and screws that are now making my neck their home

I'm recovering from ACDF surgery....Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion, cervical being my 'NECK'. I recently underwent spinal fusion from C4-C7. I was having chronic headaches and tingling in my right arm, sometimes left too, that wouldn't go away at all. I've suffered chronic headaches since around 1998, but didn't know it was my neck causing it, even though I'd take one of those microwavable bean tubey thingys to work and wear it when I worked in Endoscopy way back then.

It was a big decision to undergo surgery, and one that was fraught with much tension, fear and hesitation. I even went as far as calling my doctors office to cancel the surgery. But he asked me to allow him to review my films and he'd call me back. Mind you, this is a very conservative surgeon so when he called me back and said that if I decided to postpone, it would behoove me to be very cautious since my discs were basically collapsed in places and were pressing on my spinal cord leaving a bruise that could, if I got in an accident or something, leave me with permanent damage and loss of function of my right arm. YIKES!!!

This scared me!!! And I don't think it coincidence that one morning while driving to work, the car in front of me a distance off, turned sideways so I would hit him broadside. I pumped my breaks, the road was super slippery with ice. I kept pumping and pumping, then holding the brake down.......there was a cement barrier on my left, a car on my right, I had no where to go except right into this white car turned sideways.

I said to him and to myself, "my car is toast....YOUR CAR is toast.....this is going to be a very bad day for both of us. I hope my neck can handle it.... I hope I don't get a whiplash......I prayed before I left this morning that neither me nor anyone around me would get in an accident.....I kept braking and braking and just as I figured all was lost, the white car pulled out of my lane and into the next lane, missing him entirely.

I started to bawl. I couldn't contain myself. Crying and crying thanking God. Then about a week later, I was caught in a nasty snow storm which kept me not even a 1/2 mile away from the hospital, sitting on the highway in the same place for an hour and a half. It took me four hours to get home that night. I didn't reach home until 11:30 p.m. That night the roads were so bad, fear hung in the air around me like I'd be lucky to make it home without getting in an accident. It's awful when you feel you're in danger just by driving home!

Needless to say, I kept my scheduled surgical date and am now into week 7 of recovery phase. I still have a very stiff neck and can actually feel the plate in my neck when I swallow, which my surgeon has reassured me will dissipate in time. I've never been more grateful for narcotic intervention in my life. I'm hoping in the next six months, I'll be able to say I'm grateful I had the surgery. Right now, I'm still having pain and spasms, but I keep being reassured I will heal in time. I am grateful I had the surgeon that I did. He is an amazing man.

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