I have had several surgeries in the past – carpal tunnel release in both hands, surgery on both shoulders and I have also had my gallbladder removed. My last surgery was about 5 years ago – one of the hands. For some reason, I was not scared with any of these surgeries, but I am TERRIFIED about the neck surgery that I will need very soon.
I went to a spine doctor and he told me I needed surgery pretty quickly. He called me “remarkable” – and not in a good way. I opted for a 2nd opinion, and went to the doctor that performed my husband’s back surgery. I really like this doctor and feel he did a good job with my husband, and I liked his bedside manner. The 2nd doctor said pretty much the same thing – that my problem is severe and that I need surgery sooner rather than later. My spinal cord is severely compressed and doing surgery soon will reduce the risk of permanent damage. He advised me not to drive (or be in a car) anymore than I have to, as if I got rear-ended or jolted, it could be very bad.
Honestly, I cannot remember all of the technical terminology, but my neck is a mess at C5-6 and C6-7 levels. He wants to go in an clean them up, remove bone spurs and do a 2-level fusion. He also wants to harvest bone from my hip (Iliac Crest) to replace the discs, as supposedly it will fuse better than if donor disc is used.
I am scared. Really scared.
As if the neck surgery isn’t bad enough, I have heard horror stories about the bone harvesting, and it causing pain for years afterward.
My MRI showed:
Several bone spurs – big ones apparently. The X-ray clearly showed them (the MRI didn’t very well).
This is the part that concerns the doctor the most – see how there isn’t much white around the spinal cord? That is where the compression is occurring.
The photos below are looking down my spinal column (neat right?). You can see that above and below the affected area, that the cord is round and white (as they should be).
In the photo below, my cord is smooshed. Almost completely smooshed. The doctor wants to go in and “clean up” around the discs, remove the bone spurs and then fuse the discs (Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion).
I will be seeing the doctor again on May 23rd and I imagine we will be scheduling surgery asap. I am so nervous, but am also ready to just get it over with. I have so many questions for the doctor, now that I have had time to think about it and do my research.
Surgery would require a two night hospital stay, and recovery time would be several weeks. I would have to wear a collar for two months, and my activities will be very limited. Which sucks. I have a really hard time just sitting around doing nothing! I am so grateful to have a great group of contributors though, who will take care of Eighty MPH Mom in my absence. I will post more about that later, and I will also chronicle my pre-op, post-op and recovery.
Have you had neck surgery? Do you know anyone who has? What were your (or their) results? I would love to hear about this – I want to know it all, so I can be prepared and/or armed with any and all information.